Merchant Risk Live Wrap-up: CJ Schneller of MerchantE on Building Strong Risk and Compliance

Graphic of Merchant Risk Live hosted by LegitScript featuring CJ Schneller.

In this episode of Merchant Risk Live, we spoke with CJ Schneller, Senior Vice President of Risk and Compliance at MerchantE, on building strong risk and compliance habits into the fabric of an organization. Watch the full episode by clicking the button below, or continue reading to get highlights.

Prior to joining MerchantE, CJ served as the Head of Internal Audit at Bank of America Merchant Services, a leading electronic payments company offering payment acceptance solutions. CJ currently serves on the Payment Facilitator/ISV Committee and the Risk, Fraud, and Security Committee with the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), and he also serves on the Board of Governors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors in an advisory capacity.

MerchantE’s Current Ecosystem and Future Vision

CJ described how his roles at different companies have given him a lens to view risk from various perspectives. Prior to MerchantE, as an internal auditor, his duties included making sure people had the technologies and resources available to make sure all areas of the business organization were compliant. At MerchantE, part of his day-to-day work involves fighting risk and becoming PCI compliant.

Smaller companies can benefit most from internal audits because they often lack mature processes and as well as clarity in terms of roles and responsibilities. That, CJ said, is where a lot of operational failure comes from. Internal audits can help with governance and stability.

MerchantE has a full-scale processing system. It was one of the first players within the payment space, and has benefitted from targeting e-commerce. “Currently, we are focused on building a centralized third-party risk management program, where we identify what are the specific third parties we engage with and what are the risks they uniquely present,” CJ said. He said having a robust strategy involves a combination of good people, processes, and technology in place.

The Foundation for a Better Payments World

When people outside of payments consider the industry, they often overlook compliance and regulation. CJ said it’s valuable to have a collaborative discussion when making strategic decisions between the executives and the risk management team to ensure there is a clear understanding of the risk management when entering a particular space so that company executives are making decisions that are well informed and educated. He said having a monthly or quarterly or check-in between executives and a risk management team can help ensure organizations aren’t stepping out of line in terms of taking certain risks. Communication, CJ said, is critical in making commercially sensible decisions.

Transparency is another important quality; CJ said that when done well, transparency can lead to better adoption and can help reduce chaos. “I think there is always a healthy tension between the risk and sales team,” he said. “Some of these decisions should be made with guardrails set in place to determine which sales opportunities are right for the organization.”

Finally, CJ said people are a critical component to a healthy operation. However, finding the right person and right team is challenging. CJ said he looks for people with good communication and critical thinking skills, as well as ones who want to challenge ideas rather than following the status quo. Best practices involve constant learning; this requires team members who are engaged and who understand where the world is headed.

Want to join us live?

The Merchant Risk Live is a biweekly virtual event to discuss trends in merchant risk management with guest experts in payments risk and compliance. Some of the topics include creating effective risk rules, making transaction monitoring and content monitoring work together, getting federal regulation updates, and more! If you’re interested in joining the biweekly live event, sign up today.