Why I Became an APRP

Jim Haslag, AAP, APRP, CTP, Director of Deposit Services of Providence Bank in Jefferson City, MO one of many EPCOR members to obtain the Accredited Payments Risk Professional (APRP) certification.

Have you ever wondered what it is really like to become an APRP? Jim kindly let us interview him so that you, and other EPCOR members, can learn from his experience.

Why did you decide to become an APRP?

“As banking continues to evolve, so must bankers! Risk management has become a huge part of every financial institution’s back-office operations. What I mean is that 20 years ago, risk management in banking was primarily focused on credit risk. And, while I understand that is still huge today, advancements in payments and related technology have been met with equal or greater advancements in fraud and other related risks. The question that I asked myself was, ‘As a payments professional, what could I do to better prepare myself and my bank to take on the challenge related to those risks?’ Knowledge from training and related education, in my opinion, is a big part of this answer. Then to take it a step further, why not validate this knowledge and education by attaining the APRP certification. It just made sense.”

What was it like to sit for the exam?

“Well, there was definitely a high level of anxiety on my part. It is not an easy test to prepare for, in part, because of the sheer volume of material it covers. However, a big shout out to Shelly Sipple and the APRP Prep Program offered by EPCOR. I am thoroughly convinced that the material covered in the APRP Prep Course, as well as the manner in which it was presented, set me up for success on the exam.”

How has being an APRP helped you in your job or how has it helped your organization?

“It has definitely set me up as a “go to” for counsel and advice on risk topics related to our various payment systems. Coincidently, I just finished a meeting with our financial institution’s Chief Risk Executive and the BSA Department to discuss some proactive procedures for more efficiently and effectively identifying fraud. Additionally, we are constantly looking at improving or enhancing our existing payment systems and have recently added new payment services. The knowledge that I have gained through the APRP certification process has definitely helped in these areas.”

What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming an APRP?

“The material covered by the APRP certification process is extremely relevant to anyone who works with risk management, treasury management or other general payments professionals, as well as IT professionals, and those involved in your financial institution’s business continuity program. So, if there is a consideration, you should do it. My advice would be to take advantage of the related programs that are offered through EPCOR, including the APRP Prep Course and the APRP Flash Cards. Stay diligent, determined and disciplined and you will be successful. For me, the relevancy of the material just made the commitment to studying much easier……it is just material that every payments professional should know.”