Lisa Mills, CRCM
SVP, Compliance Officer
Lisa Mills never imagined a
career for herself in compliance.
Eighteen years ago, Lisa Mills was working
as an Administrative Assistant in Operations
at First Morris Bank & Trust (now Provident
Bank), in northern New Jersey. The compliance
field wasn’t nearly as robust, nor was it subject
to the amount of scrutiny that it is now. However, right about this time, folks were in a tizzy,
concerned that Y2K was going to wreak havoc
on every computer system.
Lisa had been at the bank since 1996, and
although she didn’t know anything about compliance, she was happy to assist the bank’s compliance officer with the overwhelming amount
of work that the Y2K planning required. Talk
about an introduction—Jane Block, Lisa’s supervisor, became her mentor, guiding her in the
field during this busy time. Lisa enjoyed working on the Y2K project (making it through, unscathed by errant computers) and thus, a career
in bank compliance was born.
Lisa knew she had a lot to learn.
Before the accessibility and popularity of online
training, in-person conferences and schools
were the primary source of compliance education for most bankers. Online forums for
discussion didn’t exist as they do now. Updates
were delivered on paper—no e-bulletins…gasp!
And, outside of institutional knowledge passed
along internally, there weren’t many opportunities to expand one’s knowledge.
As a result, Jane encouraged Lisa to attend
the ABA Compliance school in 2003, to supple-
ment her on-the-job training. Lisa learned
about lending and has fond memories of Reg
Z, in particular. She recalls, “ I was amazed that
someone could not only teach the regulation,
but write it as well!”
Soon after, Lisa became First Morris Bank
& Trust’s Assistant Compliance Officer, the
BSA Officer, and ultimately the bank’s Com-
pliance Officer. In 2007, she moved to Sussex
Bank and served as a BSA and Compliance
Officer. At a time when BSA was the central
focus, Lisa enhanced policy management and
helped bring more emphasis to the compliance
function, as she worked to build a compliance
infrastructure for the bank. In 2012, Lisa took a
position with Lakeland Bank as a Vice President
of Compliance. Her focus while there has been
on consumer protection laws and program risk
management. She was promoted last year and
currently serves as a Senior Vice President,
Compliance Officer at Lakeland Bank.
Throughout the course of her
career, Lisa has taken advantage
of training opportunities.
In addition to the National Compliance School,
Lisa also attended ABA’s Graduate School of
Compliance Risk Management. She obtained her
CRCM certification and has continued to learn
as much about the field as she can. While online
training has opened up many more options for
education, Lisa says that you can’t put a value on
the peer interaction that takes place at a school.
You learn to take complex compliance information and focus on what is most important.
Today’s compliance officers have more on
their plates than anyone could have predicted
over a decade ago. They are more involved in
the day-to-day functions of the bank, and as a
result, they must continually enrich their depth
of knowledge. Lisa remarks that this is another
area where the training she received has been
beneficial. Instructors gave the students practical
examples, which enabled her to understand the
significance of a particular rule or regulation at
Lisa originally wanted to pursue
a career in education and
become a teacher.
Ironically, every single day, Lisa teaches. Lisa
has become a mentor, advising others to ask as
many questions as possible, so they may absorb
as much as they can. Lisa suggests, “Think
about the bank as a whole, not just the depart-
ment. Think bigger and don’t limit yourself to
believing there is something you can’t achieve.”
The student has become the master. ■
Lisa and her husband reside in northern New
Jersey and enjoy camping and the outdoors.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ALISON OSHOP is Senior Director at
ABA and manages the ABA
Compliance Schools and CRCM Exam
Prep in-person courses. Alison has
held several positions within ABA’s
Professional Development Group and previously
worked for Lockheed Martin. She holds a BS in
Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia
Tech. Alison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ABA Compliance Schools that Lisa attended have
changed names over the years. The ABA offers 3 levels
of in-person compliance training and education. The
Foundational Compliance School is ideal for those with 5
years of experience or less and provides knowledge of
basic deposit/operations and lending compliance rules and
regulations. The Intermediate Compliance School focuses
on the application of a student’s knowledge of the rules
and regulations to real world scenarios. And, the Advanced
Compliance School teaches students how to implement,
enhance and manage their institution’s compliance risk
management program. The Foundational Compliance
School is offered twice a year and the Intermediate and
Advanced Schools are each offered once per year.
The next Foundational School will be held March 10–16,
2018 in Denver, CO. The Intermediate School will be
held in March 14–16, 2018 in Denver, CO. The Advanced
School will be held in October 2018 in Atlanta, GA. For
more information on these offerings, please visit www.