The Independent Bankers Association of America has released Regcomp, a computer-based training program designed to help employees learn about regulations in their spare time.
"When we developed this we took into account that people at these small banks wear many different hats at the same time," said Greg Martinson, the IBAA's director of education. "They may be a sales representative, a teller, and other things all at once. This is designed to give those people an overview of regulations in a short period of time."
"And many are so far-flung that it takes too much time and effort to get to training seminars," added Karen Thomas, the trade group's director of regulatory affairs. "This is a very convenient way for us to train our members better."
The training takes about two hours to complete, guiding bankers through regulations from the Community Reinvestment Act to money laundering and real estate lending rules. The product costs $99 for IBAA members, $135 for nonmembers. As regulations change or are created, the disks will be updated for a $25 fee.
David J. Browne, compliance officer at Commercial Savings Bank, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, said the product is needed. Community bankers often struggle to properly train their employees, he said.
"We've been trying to do more training and monitoring around here," Mr. Browne said. "But with having to do so many other things, we haven't had as much time as we would like. Most small banks can use some help."
Great Pond Technologies Inc., a software firm based in Augusta, Maine, developed the product for the IBAA, which unveiled it at earlier this month at the group's annual convention. Mr. Martinson said IBAA has received "a handful" of orders.
The product does have its drawbacks. Carol Fogle, compliance officer at Carroll County Bank and Trust, Westminster, Md., said Regcomp can't provide the same personalized training as a classroom setting, and won't teach bankers about the institution's specific policies.
"It can limit interaction between employees and the compliance officer or senior management," Ms. Fogle said. "It doesn't allow bankers to raise their hand and ask, 'Well, how do we handle this?' "