3 Great Bank Compliance Officer Certifications

As we work to build careers in regulatory compliance, we often look for opportunities to become more valuable to our organizations and to establish ourselves as experts.  While experience and self-learned technical expertise is a must for any compliance professional, finding a way to be recognized as an industry leader can help to establish credibility with both examiners and peers.  One way to do this is to obtain a professional regulatory compliance certification.  

Benefits of a Bank Regulatory Compliance Certification

As obtaining a professional regulatory compliance certification takes a significant commitment in both knowledge learning time as well as training and certification costs, it is important to have an understanding of why obtaining such certification is valuable to both you and your organization.  First, a regulatory compliance certification can help a bank compliance officer to establish themselves as an expert in their field. As the best compliance officer certification programs are quite difficult to obtain, have such certification acknowledges an individual’s knowledge and expertise in the world of regulatory compliance.

In addition to establishing oneself as an industry expert, a compliance officer certification can help compliance professionals find confidence in that they really do have a strong understanding of the rules and regulations they are responsible for.  As one of the most challenging aspects of managing a compliance function is to know what you don’t know (and then know how to find it), regulatory compliance certification programs ensure that compliance officers have at least a general understanding of all main rules and regulations that apply to their organization.

Finally, another benefit of obtaining a compliance officer certification is that regulatory compliance certifications can be utilized for career advancement.  Certifications are often a requirement for certain job postings, help to bring in a higher salary, and put a candidate above the competition.

3 Regulatory Compliance Certifications

There are several main certifications out there I have seen compliance professionals use.  Each is a bit different and may depend on your experience and/or career goals. Here are the main three I see, and the ones I would recommend:


In my opinion, the CRCM from the American Bankers Association (ABA) seems to be the most well recognized certification, but the requirements to obtain it are fairly stringent.  For example, they have minimum experience requirements that are a bit tricky (Contact the ABA for questions). I have actually written a few articles on tips for studying/taking the CRCM.  One article can be found here. More information on the eligibility requirements of the CRCM can be found here.


The Certified Community Bank Compliance Officer (CCBCO) designation is from the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) and is also a popular compliance certification.   This certification is a bit easier to obtain as you basically attend a two week long compliance school/seminar and then take an exam at the end of the school. More information can be found here.


The Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certification is offered through www.acams.org and is specific to the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering rules. To qualify for the CAMS, you must accumulate at least 40 credits which come from a variety of things like professional experience, college degrees, and other certifications. More information on the CAMS certification can be found here.

An Additional Compliance Officer Certification


For all of you Credit Union compliance professionals out there, one certification I left out is the NAFCU Certified Compliance Officer (NCCO) certification. to credit union industry professionals, is designed to help credit union compliance officers build and maintain critical knowledge to advance their career and keep up with the ever-changing regulatory environment our industry faces. As the NAFCU website explains, “To become certified, an individual must pass a series of four examinations. From CEOs and compliance officers to attorneys and vendors, over 1,500 professionals from around the country have successfully earned their NCCO.” Information about the NCCO certification can be found here: https://www.nafcu.org/ncco

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