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13 Movies and Shows Every Bank Compliance Nerd Needs to Watch

By: Kinsey Sullivan on August 7th, 2019

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13 Movies and Shows Every Bank Compliance Nerd Needs to Watch

News & Tips  |  Banks

The next time you sit down to relax with a good movie or show, consider one of these! Each of these 13 movies and TV shows relates to banking compliance, and will bring a new perspective on your job as a compliance professional.

It's summertime, which hopefully means fun in the sun, vacation, and relaxation for you! That means that you might be spending some time watching movies with your loved ones.

While you could always catch the new action movie in theaters, you might also want to show your friends and family the entertaining side of your life in compliance. If so, we have just the list for you.

Here are 13 movies and television shows that every bank compliance professional needs to watch.

Whether you like action movies or documentaries, there's bound to be something on this list for you. Plus, we'll tell you where you can get each one!

So make some popcorn and get settled in for these great movies and television shows about banking and compliance:

1. The Accountant (2016 - Rated R)

This action movie from 2016 is about an incredibly smart accountant (Ben Affleck) who uses his skills to help cartels and shady businesses launder their money and un-cook their books. BSA/AML compliance and FinCEN figure prominently in this fast-paced, engaging movie. Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons also star.

You can rent "The Accountant" on all of the major rental platforms, including Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube Premium, and Google Play.

2. The Big Short (2015 - Rated R)

"The Big Short" tells an amazing (mostly) true story of the investors who foresaw the financial crisis and shorted the market. As a compliance professional, you'll see a lot of things that will remind you of anti-fraud regulations, ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage regulations.

It stars Hollywood heavy-hitters Brad Pitt, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, and Christian Bale.

You can watch "The Big Short" on all of the major rental platforms, including Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube Premium, and Google Play. (It may also be available on Netflix, but it's tough to confirm.)

3. American Madness (1932)

This classic movie tells the story of a bank president during the Depression. First, the Board pressures the President to go through with a merger, and then later, $100K is stolen from the vault!

As a compliance expert, you'll appreciate this take on banking, mergers and acquisitions compliance, and financial crimes. 

While this movie isn't available via the subscription services, you can rent this one via your favorite of the major rental platforms.

4. Dirty Money (Series, 2018)

This Netflix original series is a powerful look at different types of corruption in finance. There are two episodes that will be especially relevant for compliance pros: one about payday lending, and another about how some of the world's largest banks are helping finance the drug cartels.

This show is only available on Netflix.

5. Margin Call (2011 - Rated R)

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, this drama tells the story of the first 12 hours of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It's a riveting look at the decisions made at a fictional Wall Street investment bank. As a bank compliance professional, you'll be interested in the way culture and ethics do (or don't) influence the decisions made at the top.

The star-studded cast features Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, and more.

Rent this one via your favorite of the major rental platforms.

6. Wall Street (1987 - Rated PG-13)

"Wall Street" was one of the first fast-paced, high-drama movies about investment bankers on Wall Street. Directed by Oliver Stone, it's a modern classic! In fact, Michael Douglas won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. 

Compliance professionals will be interested in how this movie handles insider trading and other SEC regulations.

Again, this one is available for rent on all of the major rental platforms. It may also be available on Netflix.

7. Syriana (2005 - Rated R)

Another Oscar-winner, "Syriana" is a tense, fast-paced action movie about a merger between two oil companies. Its banking compliance implications are interesting: it's one of the best Hollywood movies about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). 

Once compliance professional even wrote online that they use this movie to teach about the FCPA

Rent "Syriana" via your favorite of the major rental platforms.

8. Owned: A Tale of Two Americas (2018) 

Last year's powerful documentary movie "Owned" focuses entirely on the US housing economy, race, economic opportunity, and regulation through the stories of two Americans. It's a powerful look at homeownership and urban development in the US.

For compliance professionals, there is a lot of fascinating perspectives here on Fair Housing, Fair Lending, and more.

"Owned" is available to rent on all of the major rental platforms.

9. Do the Right Thing (1989 - Rated R)

Spike Lee's groundbreaking "Do the Right Thing" is a movie about changing demographics, gentrification, police, violence, and race in Brooklyn. While the direct connections to compliance are tenuous, they are there. As a compliance officer, you'll be interested in seeing Spike Lee's singular look at how access to housing and gentrification impacts communities at the individual level.  

Rent this movie via your favorite of the major rental platforms, or stream it via Hulu.

10. A Raisin in the Sun (1961- Unrated, but PG) 

"A Raisin in the Sun" won the Academy Award for Best Picture after its release in 1961. This movie is directly about access to housing, fairness, and discrimination. It follows the story of a black family trying to achieve equality and wealth in America, and stars Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, and Ruby Lee.

You can rent "A Raisin in the Sun" via your favorite of the major movie streaming rental platforms.

11. It's a Wonderful Life (1946 - Unrated, but G)

While you probably know "It's a Wonderful Life" as a Christmas movie, it's a great banking compliance movie to watch year-round! It's also interesting because it's one of the very few movies to talk about community banking, rather than investment banking. It has important lessons on financial well-being, compliance culture, and competition in banking.

You can watch this movie on Netflix and on Amazon Prime.

12. Catch Me If You Can (2002 - Rated PG-13)

This comedic action movie stars a young Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr. Based on a true story, the movie shows how Abagnale was able to forge checks as a high schooler and steal more than a million dollars from banks across the country. FBI agent Carl Hanratty (played by Tom Hanks) is focused on tracking him down. 

Because it deals primarily with forgery and fraud, the movie has lots of implications for Reg. CC: Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks, fraud, and Regulation J.

You can watch this movie on Netflix, or rent it via your favorite of the major rental platforms.

13. Ozark (Series, 2017 - Unrated, but probably R)

For BSA/AML professionals, Ozark has a lot of fascinating angles for you! The dark, gritty show is all about how one financial advisor gets involved in laundering money for the Mexican drug cartel. Similar to "The Accountant," this series is very directly focused on money laundering and how crime is financed.

This original series is only available on Netflix.

Bonus: Compliance (Coming Soon!)

This upcoming TV show from Scott Rudin tells the story of an SEC Compliance Officer at a big Wall Street firm. While the series has been completed, it does not yet have a release date. We can't wait to see what this one is all about!

Did we miss your favorite banking compliance flick? Let us know in the comments below!

If you like this article, please let us know via email or leaving a comment! We have at least 10 more movies that we could add to this list or publish in another post, if you're interested in seeing more recommendations!

And just in case you missed it when we published this earlier this year, here is a free Fair Lending training module for you. 

free-fair-lending-training-module

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About Kinsey Sullivan

After studying Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I switched to the other side of content: Marketing, Advertising and PR. At TRUPOINT, I love turning complex data and ideas into high-impact content and campaigns. In my free time, I make art, read, and listen to a lot of podcasts on long walks with my dog, Charlie "Bird" Barker.