Few of us ever get to claim magazine cover status, but George Buchanan does.
Buchanan was recently interviewed by RMA Journal, which is the monthly publication of the Risk Management Association (RMA), a professional organization serving risk management experts in the financial services industry.
Buchanan, Consumer and Wealth Management Chief Risk Officer at Regions, was recently selected as a national board member of RMA. The organization invited him to share his expertise on some hot topics for risk professionals coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The article The New Era of Transformation Risk published this week and was featured on the cover (sans his photo, alas). RMA also released an accompanying podcast of the interview. In the interview, Buchanan was asked about transformation risks affecting banks, agility in risk management, and the impact of culture on transformation.
Top-of-mind risks that Buchanan cited include fraud prevention and cyber security issues – specifically customer authentication challenges – that accompany increased digital account openings.
He pointed out that even before the pandemic Regions focused on making banking easier for customers and innovating with digital and data. Those efforts have been even more critical in the last 18 months as customer needs have evolved.
And new risks have emerged as a result.
The interview gave Buchanan the opportunity to speak about the agile processes the Risk organization put in place the last few years that encourage collaboration and enhance risk management by enabling better understanding of products and services, which provides immediate feedback.
“We continue to involve our risk teams much earlier in the development stage of a product or service that we introduce, and we leverage associates from our second-line risk teams to regularly interact with a business on those activities so they have a clear understanding of the strategies and aspirations of the business as they’re building those out,” Buchanan said.
When asked about heightened risks of a more virtual and hybrid work environment, Buchanan responded that ensuring our cultures – risk, credit and overall workplace – must be protected and maintained even as many employees in the banking industry are working remotely.
“ … It’s important that you have a mechanism in place to maintain the culture you built, whether that’s by bringing employees back into the office periodically or establishing new protocols with the various types of virtual technologies we have in place today – or both,” he said. Buchanan also talked about how this working environment impacts customer interaction, as well.
Like all businesses and functions, financial services risk management pivoted quickly to accommodate the rapid changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of those will likely remain long term. With leadership from George Buchanan, along with other leaders in Chief Risk Officer Matt Lusco’s Risk Management organization, Regions is clearly in the forefront of mitigating those transformation risks. This ensures the bank and our customers are protected while we continue to provide best-in-class service.