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Alumni Spotlight

NECB Alumnus Kervins Jean Talks Recent Promotion

Kervins Jean

We spoke with alumnus Kervins Jean, who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from New England College of Business in 2013. Jean was recently promoted to assistant vice president and compliance officer at HarborOne Bank. We caught up with him to find out more about his new position:

How did you get to your current position?

“NECB provided me with the tools to land a higher position within compliance as a regulatory compliance consultant for an accounting firm called Wolf & Company. I learned about banking compliance, banking regulations, things that involve consumer banking and the different types of protections that consumers have related to the different banking products: mortgages, investments and regular deposit products like checking accounts, credit cards and other things of that nature,” Jean says. “The flexibility that NECB offers really helped out a lot, because I was still able to do my eight-hour job on a daily basis in addition to trying to obtain my degree. My employer saw that and saw the value that NECB brought to the supply team. From being a compliance consultant, I was able to go back to a large bank and become a senior compliance analyst, where I worked to support eight different business lines within the consumer and business banking division. Recently, I got called by the compliance officer here at HarborOne Bank. She recognized me because I used to audit this particular bank when I was a regulatory compliance consultant, and she quickly grabbed me off the market.”

What do you do in your role as assistant vice president and compliance officer?

“I help the business lines within this bank meet regulatory requirements by both the federal regulators and the Massachusetts Division of Banks. Any type of regulation that comes out, I help the bank interpret it. I also help them strategize and figure out how to put it into play with their current daily operations,” he says. “In addition to that, I review several different types of marketing advertisements to make sure that they are in compliance with regulatory requirements. I help to make sure that we get the proper compliance training, and I support the main chief compliance officer during exams. We have a lot of exam management here — we check several different vendors to make sure they are in the best interest for the different business lines when it comes to compliance. And we do several different reportings when it comes to complaints analysis, so there’s a lot of things!”

How did what you learned at NECB help you in transitioning in this new role?

“NECB taught me a lot, but I’d say it wasn’t necessarily only the things I learned through my assignments that were valuable. NECB honed my time management skills, as well, because you have to juggle working full-time with making sure that you’re attending all your classes and getting your homework assignments done. It provided me with enough self-discipline to keep things in order,” Jean says.

“Through writing several procedures, policies and training scripts, NECB enhanced my writing abilities. The school also taught me strategic decision-making. This is important, because when I’m looking at a compliance regulation, I have a lot of questions to ask. Does it fit for our bank? How do we help it fit our needs on a daily basis, where it not only protects the consumer, it protects the bank as well?”

“I also really appreciated the various different ideas that I got from teachers on how to make individuals participate in compliance. How can you make sure that people are having fun with compliance, and that it’s not viewed as just a boring segment that we need in our bank? I try to make it as fun as possible,” he adds.

What made you decide to go to NECB?

“When I started at NECB, the bank that I was working at had a partnership that allowed me to get discount on tuition. I also really liked the fact that they were flexible so I didn’t need to physically be there in order to attend a class. I could do it right from home, which was very easy and convenient for me,” he says. “I didn’t really like the idea of getting off work, having to travel all the way to school and stay in class for an hour or so, and then having to go all the way back home. With NECB, I could go directly home right after work and have that flexibility where I could jump on any time of the day to read my assignments and participate in class. I didn’t even have to do it after work — if I had some free time during the workday, I could hop in at any particular time and just work on what I needed to work on.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting a degree from NECB?

“I would tell them to 100 percent go for it because not only do you get that flexibility, you get that support system from NECB. They challenge you to make sure that you participate as much as possible. It’s not for the type of person who’s just going to show up to class once a week, try to do the assignments and expect to get a great grade — they really encourage you pop in on a daily basis or at least a minimum of three times a week,” Jean says. “If you participate, it really does make a difference in terms of your understanding and in terms of making sure that you’ll pass your quizzes. The professors are very hands-on; they don’t attend just once a week to check on your work. They constantly check on you. I’ve gotten emails from my professors checking to make sure I’m okay, asking if I need help with anything or just finding out where I am. They really want to make sure all students do their best. And at the end of the day, even though most of the time you’re taking your courses online, you still get to have a graduation — you still feel like you’re actually a part of a college, and you feel a real sense of accomplishment. When you’re an alumni member, they reach out to you. It’s not just your average online college.”

What are your career goals moving forward?

“My career goal is to be a CEO of a bank,” Jean says. “I’ve been trying to make sure I get the proper mentor in place, along with the proper support system. I’m setting long-term and short-term goals for myself on how to achieve that. A lot of chief executive officers now are all about the, ‘sale, sale, sale.’ I totally understand this, because that generates the revenue for the company, but I also want to be the person with that compliance knowledge. That way, not only do I get to generate the dollar, I get to keep the dollar, because I’m in compliance with the laws and regulations. I feel as though I’m on the right path, especially since I constantly meet with executive senior management and get their input. NECB has really taught me that you’ve got to take a risk — if you just sit there and don’t do anything, nothing is going to happen. You’ve got to be willing to take that risk, to take that leap of faith in order to become successful. It might be very hard at times but it will be worth it.”

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