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Consumer Compliance Outlook®: An Authoritative Source for Financial Institutions

In recent years, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has recognized the need for an authoritative source of information to help financial institutions comply with consumer protection laws and regulations. In response, the Philadelphia Fed's Supervision, Regulation and Credit Department (SRC) launched Consumer Compliance Outlook® in May 2008.

Why Philadelphia? The magazine traces its roots to Compliance Corner, a section in the Bank's SRC Insights that was devoted exclusively to consumer compliance issues. As the insert gained popularity and compliance issues continued to become more important, SRC realized that a larger and more comprehensive newsletter with nationwide distribution was needed.

"The timing of this publication was perfect. There was a wealth of things to write about in the consumer compliance world. There was an audience, there was a need, and we had the talent and expertise here in Philadelphia to serve that need," said Connie Wallgren, assistant vice president, SRC.

OutlookAlthough Outlook's roots lie in the Philadelphia Fed, the publication is a System-wide effort. Philadelphia chairs the publication's Advisory Board, which also includes officers from the Minneapolis, Richmond, and San Francisco Federal Reserve Banks. This collaborative effort has been very successful. Recently, the System's Consumer Compliance Management Group (CCMG), consisting of Reserve Bank officers with responsibility for compliance, voted Outlook as the CCMG's most successful initiative of the last five years.

Now in its second year, Consumer Compliance Outlook has increased online subscriptions to more than 3,500 nationwide. Since the second quarter of 2008, both electronic and hard-copy subscriptions (which are sent to state member banks and bank holding companies) have increased significantly. Banks, credit unions, and savings and loan institutions make up 90 percent of the magazine's electronic readership. In addition, Outlook has received several requests to reprint articles.

Ultimately, Outlook's goal is "to help protect consumers by educating bankers about the compliance requirements for the consumer protection laws and regulations with which they must comply," explained Ken Benton, senior consumer regulations specialist, SRC.