According to documents filed on Thursday with the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Santander Consumer USA and its parent's subsidiaries entered into a written agreement on Tuesday with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Under the terms of the written agreement, SCUSA is required to enhance its compliance risk management program, board oversight of risk management and senior management oversight of risk management.
Within 60 days of this agreement, the Santander board of directors has been instructed to submit a written plan to strengthen board oversight of the management and operations acceptable to the Reserve Bank; a strategy that’s to include:
—Measures to oversee compliance by the board of directors and senior management with this agreement.
—Allocation of adequate resources to ensure the company’s compliance with this agreement and applicable consumer compliance laws and regulations.
—Actions that the board of directors will take to maintain effective control over, and supervision of, the company’s compliance risk management program.
—Structure of the board’s oversight of compliance risk management program, including a description of the committee and officer positions responsible for oversight of the compliance risk management program and a description of the duties and responsibilities of each committee and officer.
Furthermore, the agreement said that within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter, the board or authorized committees are asked to submit to the Reserve Bank written progress reports detailing “the form and manner of all actions taken to secure compliance with the agreement, a timetable and schedule to implement specific remedial actions to be taken, and the results thereof.”
The agreement goes on to state, “Each provision of this agreement shall remain effective and enforceable until stayed, modified, terminated or suspended in writing by the Reserve Bank.
The agreement closed with, “The provisions of this agreement shall not bar, estop or otherwise prevent the Board of Governors, the Reserve Bank, or any other federal or state agency from taking any other action affecting Santander, their subsidiaries, or any of their current or former institution-affiliated parties and their successors and assigns.”
Santander Consumer USA president and chief executive officer Jason Kulas discussed compliance at length during the finance company’s “Investor Day” back on Feb. 23. Kulas first mentioned compliance near the beginning of his opening remarks to Wall Street observers.
“You’re going to hear us talk about (compliance) several times today and anytime you hear us speak, you'll hear that as a central component of our strategy,” Kulas said according to the event transcript posted by the company. “We believe strongly that focusing on this is one of the keys to success in consumer finance for many years in the future and regardless of how the political winds may shift every four years or so.
“We’re going to continue to focus on compliance and putting the customer at the center of everything we do and making that a central component of how we are successful going forward,” he continued.
When circling back to compliance again, Kulas compared abiding by regulatory mandates to the human body.
“They aren’t arms and legs or fingers and toes. You can survive without some of those. These are vital organs. So without any one of these things we’re not the company we’re capable of being best case and we don’t exist worst case. So that’s how critically important these things are and that’s why they're the central components of our strategy,” Kulas said.
“If we’re really good at driving the vehicle finance business … and we have all the funding that we would ever need for that but we ignore compliance, we don’t think we’re (in business),” he continued.
Kulus also highlighted that SCUSA already hosts what he called “regularly scheduled town hall meetings” that focus on compliance. The sessions already include all employees, who are also reached via video and written messages within the company.
“It’s filtering through the entire organization in exactly the way it should be if we’re going to ultimately be able to say that we’re really good at this,” Kulas said.
Kulas closed the discussion about compliance during the company’s event back last month by highlighting the compliance expertise SCUSA employees possess.
“If we had their resumes in this presentation, you’d agree they must be pretty good at compliance,” Kulas said. “They’ve got good backgrounds at big institutions.
“But our entire team is responsible for compliance,” he continued. “I think what’s really critical is every executive you'll hear from today has spent more of our career working for large, regulated financial institutions than not. So the way we talk about that internally is we’ve got a group of people running this company who know what good looks like from a compliance perspective, from a consumer practices perspective and we talk about making this a place that treats employees well and makes them feel valued.
“All these things, happy customers, happy employees, lead to better cash flows and long-term good performance. So it's all related. We think we’ve got the pieces in place to do that,” Kulas went on to say.