Gate City Bank knows the science—and art—of risk modeling

June 20, 2022

Patty Blozinski

"Risk modeling is an art and a science. You need to be flexible, nimble, and able to get straight to the point. Model Edge allows us to continue focusing on how things are performing and better target the typologies and criminal activities that change every single day."

Patty Blozinski, CAMS, CERP, Senior Vice President of BSA, Fraud and Operational Risk, Gate City Bank

Gate City Bank is a large community-focused bank headquartered in North Dakota. They strive to stay ahead of the bad actors who engage in money laundering. But Patty Blozinski, Senior Vice President of BSA, Fraud and Operational Risk at the bank, knew her team needed a quicker and less bureaucratic way to perform risk modeling. The combination of individual spreadsheets, word processing docs, and data visualization applications her team previously used to do risk modeling wasn’t cutting it anymore. 

"We needed a solution that would calibrate our models easily, while enabling compliance with OCC regulations," said Blozinski. And as the bank developed its model risk management program, they needed ways to simplify governance and documentation. They found themselves in a "build it or buy it" situation.

Discovering Model Edge

Blozinski learned about Model Edge at a conference and was intrigued. "Model Edge offered an efficient way to streamline our risk model development, maintain our audit trails and meet regulatory expectations," noted Blozinski. She and her team piloted Model Edge and were hooked.

Dramatically reducing time spent, improving model validation

After a year of using the solution, Blozinski observed, "Model Edge saves us an incredible amount of time. Before, we spent weeks calibrating and monitoring risk model performance. Processes that used to take 30 days now only take one day. We also now have a one-stop shop for documentation." The time and effort saved allows her team to focus more strategically on analyzing results and determining next steps.

And with the support of the coding workbench in Model Edge, the risk team was able to automate and perform end-to-end tuning and validation of their entire BSA/AML model portfolio.

Reimagining model governance

Gate City Bank enjoyed numerous benefits from the platform. "Model Edge provides a full audit trail, which is essential when you’re changing models that support decision-making for diverse business practices," said Blozinski.

"The solution also allows us to determine how we classify items into higher risk models, to document them as well as maintain the overall audit trails," she continued. "This is the foundation of what’s expected of us as an OCC bank."

"We’ve seen and appreciate PwC and the Model Edge team’s focus on continuous evolution, and we’re part of that evolution. They listen to us and hear what we’re suggesting. We can say, 'Let’s build a new model—like a fraud challenger,' and it gets done. This collaboration not only evolves the tool, it aligns with our strategic mission and our business plans."

Patty Blozinski, CAMS, CERP, Senior Vice President of BSA, Fraud and Operational Risk, Gate City Bank

Supporting a growth strategy

"Whether it's a new target area or a natural increase in customers, accounts or services, we need to make sure that as the bank grows, our tools and technology keep pace," said Blozinski. "We want sustainable programs, and we don’t want to have to constantly switch vendors and move to new tools every five years to achieve it. We collaborate intentionally with strategic vendors that help us continue to grow within their platform."

In the coming months, Blozinski plans to further quantify the impact of Model Edge on their time spent managing, developing, documenting, validating and governing their models. 

"Model Edge allows us to have a consistent focus on performing our modeling more nimbly," she said. "At the end of the day, what differentiates Model Edge is when you ask PwC for something, you’re heard and listened to, and you actually see the results. Model Edge is flexible, so we see results quickly. It really is model governance and validation made simpler."

Learn more about Model Edge.

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