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Border Bank: A Better Path to Risk Management


Challenge

Border Bank is a progressive financial institution that has grown significantly through successful mergers in the Midwest. However, with over $800 million in assets and an aggressive growth strategy, the bank required a deliberate and calculated movement away from manual processes in their risk management strategies. In 2011, spreadsheets documented a lot of Border’s existing risk, and an internal risk management vision evolved from marketplace considerations and ongoing discussions with bank examiners. Transitioning from a business-silo operating model to a more holistic risk-based approach became necessary to enhance efficiencies. Border’s initial challenge was to stop working in siloes, and to decrease their manual processes to ultimately align their products and services by monitoring residual risk more effectively.

Solution

After a demonstration of the WolfPAC Integrated Risk Management® platform, Border’s risk department discovered that WolfPAC’s software solutions met every anticipated need.

“We had our ‘a-ha’ moments when we saw a visual representation of WolfPAC’s integration functionality,” said Brenda Sather, Chief Risk Officer for Border Bank. “We finally met a vendor who understood our vision and objectives.”

After evaluating several enterprise risk management offerings in the marketplace, they determined that alternative solutions were too focused on information technology (IT), or could only pull call reports and present a risk analysis on the bank overall. But consistently changing scenarios at the bank required a more granular solution with extensive automation, and more risk analysis supplemented with Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and heat maps.

WolfPAC Integrated Risk Management® gave Border:

  • A Holistic Approach
    • A transparent and interconnected solution allowed for a deep understanding of the bank’s risks and how they related to business goals.
  • Top-Down, Bottom-Up View
    • Already accustomed to a top-down view of risk at the bank, Border wanted specific risk assessments that their risk department could complete from a bottom-up perspective on services or products.
    • This dual risk approach of an entity-level risk view coupled with risk approaches on specific products and services provided effective risk mitigation strategies and helped the bank feel secure.
  • Controls Validation
    • Although they were manually monitoring controls with policies or procedures, this process wasn’t affirming whether the policies were acceptable. Their approach didn’t provide a true residual risk.
    • Residual risk is only as good as your controls’ effectiveness. WolfPAC was the software application that could integrate all critical areas such as business continuity, compliance, and audit.
  • Access Anytime, Anywhere
    • A cloud-based solution provided the flexibility to access data at all times, no matter the location.

Result

“I no longer have to manually update and curate constantly changing information in endless amounts of spreadsheets, which gives me an extra one or two weeks per year to prioritize advancing our risk management strategies,” said Sather. “We used to spend so much time manually curating documents without really understanding the value of the information presented. We were too focused on updating spreadsheets, when we should have concentrated on updating heat maps and deciphering what trends the information communicated.”

With WolfPAC, Border now benefits from:

  • Automation
    Border used to enter Board meetings with an overwhelming amount of printed spreadsheets. Having the information in this format was too complex for the Board to digest easily, and too time intensive for the team to put together. With WolfPAC, they can now distribute easy-to-read reports and immediately make any necessary changes during the meeting.
  • Greater Consistency
    Automatically generated reports now centralize risk management data instead of having the Board view inconsistently formatted documents. Also, increased productivity with enhanced report generation allows Border to focus on data integrity, reporting, and usages.
  • Integration
    Vendor management, IT, compliance, and business continuity were added to the bank’s risk department, so they needed to bring all that information under one umbrella. WolfPAC’s Integrated Risk Management® platform allowed the bank to holistically connect their data to other affected products and services.

“Because the risk assessments in the IT, Compliance, and Third-Party Risk Management solutions flow together, we don’t have to track everything manually. That data also flows into our enterprise risk initiatives, so we don’t have to redo risk assessments in each particular area,” said Sather. “For example, seeing the very detailed, granular information in the integration functionality within the compliance risk assessment, and having that information flow into the enterprise risk assessment allows us to analyze the impact on the bank. This information can then transfer into audit components, where it can be used to track and integrate all data in the system. Also, the dynamic questions posed by the system keep us from duplicating anything.”

WolfPAC also enhanced Border’s ability to communicate with their Board.

“Our Board has been supportive of program developments, and they can now see the big picture of risk in a simplified manner through consistent reports,” said Sather. “These reports have been a tremendous help, letting us fully analyze and understand our risk to allow the Board to ask more poignant, significant questions. We know that software doesn’t develop our program, but it helped optimized our services and advanced our credibility with the Board.”

Takeaway

  • A fully integrated approach connected risk appetites to business objectives
  • A top-down view enhanced risk mitigation and optimized the bank’s overall security posture
  • Consolidated information optimized communication and strengthened risk management strategies