What is a CRCM, and why is it important?

Every credit union needs a certified regulatory compliance manager (CRCM), as does every other financial institution. Thanks to their certification, these professionals are better-equipped in handling your company’s compliance.

By choosing a certified regulatory compliance manager over one without the certification, you can confirm their expertise and experience. After, a CRCM must pass a rigorous test and have years of experience before they can even apply to take it.

Without a CRCM, you are doing a significant disservice to your credit union. You may have a compliance officer, but their lower level of experience and knowledge can create issues if they are unaware of specific regulations of potential compliance issues. Hiring a CRCM will bring a significant asset to your credit union, helping to protect you from legal and financial problems.

What is a CRCM?

The title of certified regulatory compliance manager (CRCM) is a certification that the aba (american bankers association) awards. The program provides those in the regulatory compliance field with an opportunity to show their expertise.

How does someone become a CRCM?

To become a CRCM, a person has to pass an exam offered by the aba several times each year. The exam covers information on the following topics:

  •   Regulator and auditor compliance management
  •   Governance and oversight
  •   Compliance monitoring
  •   Management and assessment of compliance risk
  •   Regulatory change management
  •   Compliance analysis
  •   Iinternal/external reporting

To be eligible to take the exam, applicants need to have at least six years of experience as a compliance professional in the united states in the last decade, with three of those years being in the past five years. Or they must have at least three years of that experience plus have completed two of six different aba-accredited compliance-related training within the past five years.

To maintain their certifications after the first year, CRCMs need to pay the annual renewal fee, follow the professional code of ethics, and complete at least 60 continuing education credits every three years.

Major trends influencing CRCMs – salary.

When hiring a CRCM, you need to offer them an appropriate salary. The average salary depends on the region, with a national average of $89,613, according to payscale, $71,718, according to simplyhired, or $51,826, according to ziprecruiter.

According to ziprecruiter, the following are the average salaries for CRCMs in a sampling of states:

  •   California: $50,951
  •   Florida: $43,784
  •   Maine: $47,599
  •   Missouri: $44,082
  •   New York: $56,847
  •   Texas: $45,920
  •   Washington: $55,916

The individual pieces of hiring a CRCM.

All financial institutions should have a CRCM in place. Here are some helpful tips to know before you hire one.

Finding a CRCM for your credit union is incredibly similar to filling any other job vacancy. You will post an ad listing and look for skills, experience, and references.

As you look to hire a certified regulatory compliance manager, pay close attention to the following factors:

  •   Years of experience in compliance
  •   Years of maintaining their certification as a CRCM
  •   Knowledge of legal standards
  •   Experience planning to remain compliant
  •   Planning and analytical skills
  •   Prioritization and organization skills
  •   Communication and interpersonal skills

You may also want to keep the following resources, tools, and advice in mind as you hire a CRCM:

  •   Consider taking advantage of the aba job board. The aba is the organization that offers the certification for the CRCM, so CRCMs are likely to look there.
  •   Ask questions about handling situations where rules are not followed.
  •   Have them show they can explain rules and regulations in a way that most employees should understand.
  •   Ask about their continuing education, including how often and what types of courses or workshops they use.
  •   Ask whether they have had to implement significant new rules to remain compliant in the past. If so, ask about the process. Asking helps confirm their ability to engage in large-scale planning.
  •   Be honest with the candidate about what you expect from them in their new role.

Having a CRCM vs. Not having a certified one.

Your alternative to hiring a CRCM would be to not have one at all or to have a compliance manager or officer without the additional training and certification. Compared to having a compliance officer without any other certificate, consider these differences between opting for a certified regulatory compliance manager.

Proven knowledge.

The most apparent difference between a CRCM and someone without the certification is that they have proven their knowledge via the aba test. This test covers the most crucial knowledge bases that a compliance officer needs. You will be able to rest easy, knowing that they have the necessary knowledge to help your credit union remain compliant.

Without any certification, there is no way to know how accurate an applicant’s regulatory knowledge is. The only alternatives are to have them take a test you create or assume knowledge based on experience.

Continuing education requirements.

Not only do you have proof that CRCMs have the relevant regulatory and compliance knowledge, but you will know that they will continue to learn about updates thanks to the continuing education requirements to maintain a CRCM.

Once again, you could find a compliance officer who willingly undergoes continuous training, but this would be optional instead of the requirement for a CRCM.

Access to continuing education.

There is also the question of the type of continuing education that your compliance officer has access to. CRCMs get discounts on certain aba compliance and regulatory conferences, and they have access to the certification manager, a database of aba-approved programs. Non-certified officers could use many of the same resources, but it would be harder for them to find relevant information, and costs are slightly higher.

Proven experience.

You should also keep in mind that CRCMs have experience requirements of at least six years. Stringent experience requirements mean that by limiting your candidate criteria to CRCMs, you have already weeded out those without experience.

Of course, you can easily find a compliance officer with this much experience or much more who has chosen not to become certified for some reason, so this is also easy to overcome.


While most of the previous points are in favor of CRCMs, keep in mind that the additional certification does mean you have to pay them a higher salary than a non-certified compliance manager. That being said, they can potentially save you more money in fines you avoid via compliance.

All financial institutions should have a CRCM in place. Here are some helpful tips to know before you hire one.

Summary – why you should care about hiring a CRCM.

Remember that hiring a CRCM helps protect your credit union by reducing the risk, both at the individual and organizational levels. Reducing the risk can also help your employees take action with confidence, as they know how to follow the rules. Having a compliance officer can also help provide a holistic view, resolve issues proactively, reduce liability, and create consistent accountability.

To keep your credit union running smoothly, look for other tools in addition to hiring a CRCM. Podium products, for example, can help you with seamless communications with members over webchat or messengers. Your new CRCM can use other features, to ensure all of your team members understand how to stay compliant. If you need free communication tools, consider Podium to help gain the business you need for clientele. 

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss AVP of Financial Services Enterprise Sales

Jeff Moss is a credit union and bank professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects financial institutions with their members and prospects.

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