Compliance Training: Feed the Troops, Keep It Fun, Toyota Financial Says

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / ra2studioLAS VEGAS — To raise awareness about compliance throughout an organization, it pays to keep training as informal and engaging as possible, said Linda Iannone, chief compliance officer for Toyota Financial Services.

It may sound funny, but in all seriousness the importance of serving food also should not be underestimated, she said at the Auto Finance Summit 2015 in October.

“If you feed them and make it fun, they will come,” she said.

Toyota Financial Services held its second annual Compliance Week earlier this year, part of an ongoing effort to get compliance on the agenda for everyone in the company, Iannone said. Compliance is everyone’s job, not just the compliance department or the legal department, she said.

To sweeten the offer, Iannone said during Compliance Week the compliance department served breakfast to every employee at the captive finance company, from the field staff to headquarters. “Food is a major driver of engagement,” she said.

Another gimmick, which nevertheless helped make a serious point, was that Toyota Financial hired professional comedians to lead a mock game show format that included role-playing in typical compliance situations.

Iannone said it helps keep her oriented to picture her 92-year-old mother as the customer across the desk or on the phone.

“How would I want her to be treated?” she said. “Don’t I want her to be treated fairly and her rights to be protected?  Of course, the answer is yes.”

Besides just doing the right thing, lenders need to bear in mind that nowadays with social media available, and with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau collecting, displaying and potentially acting on consumer complaints, a customer who gets treated poorly has access to a huge megaphone.

“Watch out, world!” Iannone said, even her mother is on Facebook.

“We all know that customer complaints are not the same today as they were a decade ago. Today, through social media or the CFPB complaint portal, customer complaints can be amplified and reach consumers across the country and the globe for that matter — and the result can be a degradation of your brand,” she said.

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