The 6 largest U.S. banks spent $70.2 billion in 2013 on regulatory compliance, up from $34.7 billion in 2007. A growing army of rule enforcers are forcing striking changes on banks’ internal cultures. At one midsize bank in the U.S., a compliance officer was reprimanded after complaining about an individual regulator to a colleague in the bathroom, only to find out the regulator had been in a stall.
At J.P. Morgan, the nation’s largest bank by assets, the head count associated with what it calls “controls,” which includes many compliance-related staff, has grown to 43,000 in 2015 from 24,000 in 2011. Colonial Savings in Fort Worth, Texas, with eight branches, had three to four people in its compliance department two years ago, said Richard Harvey Jr., its chief compliance officer. It now has 14, and “it’s very tough to find good compliance help.”