Stacee Hasenbalg, OppLoans Chief Compliance Officer: “Putting customers first makes my job easier.”

I joined OppLoans just last September, and after working more than 20 years in both the traditional banking and fintech industries, I can say with confidence that OppLoans is different.

Why? Because everything we do here boils down to answering one question: What’s best for the customer?

In fact, it was this emphasis on our customers—and our goal of better serving the nation’s underbanked consumers—that made me want to join OppLoans in the first place.

From the very first moment that I walked through the doors, I could feel this energy, a palpable buzz that ran from one end of the office to the other.

As I interviewed with Jared, our CEO, with the board, and with other department heads, that buzz and energy never died. Our leadership team here doesn’t just talk the talk, either. They walk the walk, and really focus on serving our customers while creating an exciting, mission-driven corporate culture. I see it every day, in every conversation, and in every meeting that I attend.

And you know what? As Chief Compliance Officer, this customer-first mentality makes my job easier.

Now, it’s not that I’m looking for “easy.” I enjoy a good challenge.

At the same time, I believe the challenges and risks you take on, both personally and in business, should be thoughtful. Some just are not a good use of time, energy, money, and brainpower. Being thoughtful and having clear goals makes us more efficient, it lets us focus on what really matters.

I think that a healthy tension and respect between the business and compliance department is a good thing. Tension creates the energy that propels us forward.

But in my experience, when banks and other financial companies are not focused on treating their customers well, creating a corporate culture to include risk management and compliance becomes that much more difficult.

That’s not something I worry about here.

I see my role here as being about relationships—so much of what I do involves listening and understanding.

Compliance provides a unique view of the company, a full 360-degree perspective of how our product is working and how we are providing it. We’re a business partner, not an internal police department. Positioning compliance at odds with other business partners is rarely effective when it comes to creating a balanced corporate culture.

My job is providing data to the rest of the business—information that’s essential to serving our customers well.

Being CCO not only involves impacting culture within the company, but also within the Compliance department itself. A big part of my job is helping to build a cohesive department vision to share with the rest of the company.

It’s important to me that the Compliance department is valued by its business partners and united in its vision—and that vision should include the perspectives of all our team members.

As we expand even further throughout the year, we’ll be looking to hire people who share our vision, who have great attention to detail, and who love getting down to business to contribute to our success at OppLoans. These aren’t “check-the-box” kinds of roles. They’ll require good judgment and a real understanding of nuance.

I think of my team members as more than just people who are hired to fill a role. I think about them as professionals. That’s why we’ve developed career matrices for Compliance department members that chart their path to the next level.

I’m supporting my employees, just like the rest of leadership is supporting me.

That, in a nutshell, is why OppLoans is different. It’s a place where leadership cares about its employees, coworkers care about each other, and where everyone cares about our customers. It’s been that way from the beginning.

It’s why I joined, and it’s why I’m excited to stay. When you place people at the top of the list, that’s when special things can happen.