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Compliance Superhero: Stephanie Baumann

Compliance Superhero

Welcome back to our Compliance Superhero Series! Every month, we highlight a compliance professional who we feel is doing excellent work and ask them about their background, their thoughts on the industry, and any hidden superpowers they have. I’ve reached out to Marvel about adding them to the next phase of the MCU, but in the meantime, you can get to know them here. This month, we’re highlighting Stephanie Baumann, a Compliance Risk Manager at Mercury. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Stephanie Baumann - PerformLine Compliance Superhero

Welcome! Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role at Mercury.
This May will make two years for me with Mercury. I’m a Compliance Risk Manager, and I’m sort of known as the marketing subject matter expert; I give guidance to our product teams to ensure that they’re adhering to both the regulatory landscape as well as our partner bank requirements. Working in the fintech space, we have a double layer of rules to follow.

What was your path to the compliance space?
I started out at a small consumer bank as a branch manager. I actually didn’t have much of a finance background—I was just good at customer service and was interested in that world. Eventually I was promoted to being an internal auditor for the branch, which I did for eight years, and that’s where I really fell in love with compliance. From there I transitioned to the corporate compliance world as a Business Unit Compliance Officer, overseeing marketing and insurance, which is how I found the marketing part of compliance. I’ve been in that space since.

What compels you about the work you do?
I think it fits well with my personality—I’m able to teach people complex topics using simple language. I also like that there are black-and-white rules to everything, but there’s still a lot of creativity involved: it’s a perfect blend of art and science. You have the law, and you can’t go outside of that, but there are so many creative ways to make your marketing work, whether it’s a YouTube video, or a billboard, or a social media campaign. I get the structure of compliance, but I also get to collaborate with creatives.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for a successful compliance program?
Focus on building relationships. I spend a lot of time building those relationships between compliance and the other parts of our business, because we all ultimately have the same goal. I don’t like to frame our dynamic as my either rejecting or approving things. I’m there to provide assurance, or to give advice on how we can best go about achieving our goals. I’ll let them know if we’re restricted from doing something, but I don’t like to just say “no,” I’ll give some examples or inspiration for alternatives as well.

What tools–software or otherwise–are most important for your work?
Well PerformLine is my new favorite tool. Since we’ve signed up, it’s been pivotal for bringing the online voice of our affiliates in line with the Mercury brand, which is not something we had the resources to do before—we have a number of partnerships. It’s also allowed me to track our social footprint, even though I’m not an expert in that area. And when it came to our quarterly audit, it cut my review time in half.

We’re also a Slack shop, so we’re on there quite a bit—plenty of emojis going around! We’ve also started to use Asana for our project management, and I can’t say no to a classic spreadsheet.

What do you see happening within the compliance space in the next 1-2 years?
Since we’re in the fintech space, even though they’re not officially here yet, we’re definitely on the lookout for upcoming fintech regulations, as well as tighter restrictions surrounding fintech and bank partnerships. I’ve also been keeping an eye out for news on dark patterns, which has been fun to learn about and keep up on.

What’s your secret superpower?
One of them is definitely finding the most adorable dogs at the shelter and then bringing way too many of them home. On the work front, I’m good at teaching while I correct, so if I request a change, everybody understands why and I don’t get a ton of pushback. It just helps everything feel so much more collaborative.

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