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5 Tips for Ensuring Effective Policies and Procedures in Banking

Complexity and heavy regulatory oversight make developing effective policies and procedures in banking a special challenge. Here are 5 tips for making sure your bank’s Policies and Procedure system delivers value and will get used.
1. Avoid the temptation to buy pre-written boilerplate material without making it your own. The policies you deliver to employees and board members should reflect your own philosophy, best practices, and exceptions. (if you are tempted to buy pre-written material, at least do a careful review and customize it to your company.)
2. Keep it simple, reduce the complication by breaking policy and procedure into separate components. Having a clear understanding of what is a policy and what is a procedure helps you keep things clean and simple. That is the heart of our Operations Mapping approach. Also see: Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Don’t mix up Policies and Procedure (How tos)
3. “Structure” your policies and procedures so they get used. The right structure is also essential to maintenance. Breaking information into bite-sized components will help you think through issues more systematically, ensure you cover all the bases and deliver content your employees can understand, learn and use. (the days of policy and procedure manuals sitting on the shelf should be history!)
4. Make a conscious effort to brainstorm all the exceptions with those on the front line. Put them in a separate list. Customer Identification is a good example. What guidelines will help employees make the right decisions and not fall prey to the “Bubba Syndrome” – Sally knows his brother-in-law who knows his ex-girlfriend, so he’s OK.
5. Avoid duplicating guidelines and exceptions. Create it once, link it to the related content. If you write it more than once, you’ll end up with redundant information and maintenance will soon become a nightmare and you’ll be caught in a never-ending cycle: its too difficult to keep everything updated, so your policies and procedures become obsolete, so people won’t trust them, and so they don’t get used.

If you are interested in delving into the details of writing policies and procedures that get better results, visit the COMPROSE website and check out our “How to create User-friendly Procedures” webinar and our Zavanta software.