Banking on Data: Unraveling the Mystery of Data Governance in the Financial World

Daniel Thyrring25 Aug 23 • 10 min read

Blog > Industries

in today’s data-led landscape, what does data governance look like in the financial world?

For regulated industries such as those in the financial services sector, having effective and comprehensive data governance in place is critical. Why? Because without it, organizations are placing not only themselves at risk of cyber-security threats, but all their customers and their sensitive data.

For example, in 2017, Equifax’s lax cybersecurity practices lead to a data breach that impacted 147 million of its customers. These types of breaches have a severe impact on many business operations, from reputational damage to lost customers and ultimately, lost revenue. While this is a particularly severe case, it’s not uncommon, and it only further highlights the need for financial services organizations to ensure they have the right data governance practices in place.

While the majority of industries adopt and upgrade their data-driven strategies to boost decision-making, the finance sector is looking beyond standard data management strategies and instead, looking to implement robust data governance. Not only because it can help to better protect internal data such as sensitive customer information, but it can also support an improved customer experience.

So, in today’s data-led landscape, what does data governance look like in the financial world?

What is Data Governance in Banking?

Financial institutions embarking on their data governance journey or enhancing their current practices must consider several critical aspects. Only by addressing these key elements can they can establish a solid foundation for effective data governance in the ever-evolving landscape of the financial world.

One crucial factor to consider is building the right foundation. It is common for organizations to invest blindly in the latest technology, hoping that it will solve all their data governance challenges. However, success in data governance lies in striking a balance between technology, people, and processes. Without the necessary groundwork, even the most advanced tools will fall short. Financial institutions should focus on developing a comprehensive data governance strategy that encompasses the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, clear data governance policies and procedures, and a well-defined governance framework.

Data quality is another essential aspect of data governance in banking. Accurate, complete, and consistent data is paramount for reliable decision-making and reporting. To ensure that data quality, financial institutions need to implement robust data quality controls. This involves conducting regular data monitoring and validation processes to identify and rectify any errors or inconsistencies. Implementing these data quality measures means that organizations can proactively address issues and prevent data discrepancies that could have adverse impacts on their operations.

Security and privacy measures play a pivotal role in data governance for financial institutions. Protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access and ensuring compliance with data privacy and security regulations are imperative. To achieve this, robust security measures such as encryption, access controls, and firewalls should be implemented. On top of that, financial institutions need to establish policies and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance with relevant regulations. These measures should be regularly reviewed, updated, and monitored to maintain the highest level of security and privacy across the board.

Effective data governance also considers risk management protocols. Financial institutions must identify potential risks associated with data usage and management, such as data breaches or regulatory violations. By developing comprehensive risk management frameworks, financial institutions can mitigate these risks effectively. This involves conducting regular risk assessments, monitoring and reporting on risks and incidents, and implementing remediation plans when necessary. A proactive approach to risk management within the data governance framework enables financial institutions to identify and address potential vulnerabilities promptly.

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Keep Abreast of Changing Regulations

Changing regulations and compliance requirements pose an ongoing challenge for financial institutions. Staying up-to-date with these evolving standards is crucial to avoid legal and reputational risks. One significant area where compliance is paramount is data management. A data breach not only affects the institution itself but also has far-reaching consequences for its customers. This is why protecting sensitive customer information through effective data governance is of utmost importance.

An effective data governance framework not only benefits financial institutions but also provides added value to their customers. By adhering to robust data governance practices, institutions can instill trust and confidence in their customer base. Customers are increasingly concerned about the security and privacy of their personal and financial information. With data governance protocols in place, financial institutions can demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding customer data, assuring them that their information is being handled with the utmost care.

To navigate the complex landscape of data governance, financial institutions must familiarize themselves with the regulations that govern data management in the sector. Among the most critical regulations today, are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and Basel III.

GDPR applies to financial institutions that collect, store, or process the personal data of individuals in the EU. Compliance entails obtaining proper consent for data collection, implementing stringent security measures, and providing individuals with the right to access, correct, and erase their personal data.

The PCI DSS comprises a set of security standards established by major credit card companies to safeguard sensitive payment card information. Financial institutions involved in payment card transactions must comply with PCI DSS requirements, which include implementing secure payment processing systems, protecting cardholder data, and regularly testing security controls.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is a US federal law designed to prevent financial fraud and improve corporate governance. Financial institutions that are publicly traded or registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must comply with SOX mandates. This involves maintaining accurate financial records, implementing internal controls, and conducting regular audits to ensure transparency and accountability.

Basel III is a global regulatory framework that sets standards for capital adequacy, liquidity, and risk management in banks. Compliance with Basel III necessitates financial institutions to maintain sufficient capital reserves, monitor and manage risks effectively, and report on risk exposures and capital adequacy ratios. This often requires robust data management and reporting capabilities to provide accurate and timely information.

By embracing these regulatory requirements within their data governance frameworks, financial institutions can proactively address compliance challenges. Implementing data governance practices that align with these regulations helps institutions build a robust foundation for their operations while safeguarding customer information and maintaining regulatory compliance.

While the ever-changing landscape of regulations and compliance requirements poses challenges for financial institutions, they can be navigated effectively. By adopting effective data governance frameworks and adhering to regulations such as GDPR, PCI DSS, SOX, and Basel III, financial institutions can protect sensitive customer data, enhance their compliance posture, and build stronger relationships with their customers. Data governance is the key to navigating these complexities and thriving in the data-driven world of finance.

The Benefits of an Effective Data Governance Framework

When implemented correctly, effective data governance can bring about profound positive impacts for financial institutions. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:

Improved Data Quality

This is a primary outcome of data governance. By establishing data governance frameworks, financial institutions can ensure that their data is accurate, complete, and consistent. This high-quality data serves as a reliable foundation for decision-making processes, enabling more informed and effective choices. With that improved data quality, financial institutions can enhance operational efficiency by reducing the risk of errors, redundancies, and inconsistencies that can occur when working with poor-quality data. In turn, this assurance of data accuracy and reliability contributes to mitigating risks and compliance violations.

Increased Trust and Confidence

A comprehensive data governance framework facilitates greater trust and confidence among stakeholders. Customers, regulators, and investors value financial institutions that demonstrate their commitment to data management and protection. Through the implementation of robust data governance practices, they can showcase their ability to handle sensitive information securely. This builds trust among customers, who feel more confident that their personal and financial data is safeguarded. Likewise, regulators and investors gain assurance that the institution is compliant with data regulations and industry standards, minimizing the risk of reputational damage resulting from data breaches or non-compliance incidents.

Enhanced Compliance

Data governance frameworks ensure that financial institutions adhere to relevant data regulations and compliance requirements. Establishing proper policies, procedures, and controls results in institutions that can effectively manage and monitor data throughout its lifecycle, ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR, PCI DSS, SOX, and Basel III. Meeting these regulatory obligations not only reduces the risk of penalties and fines but also fosters a culture of responsible data management within the organization.

Competitive Advantage

By leveraging data effectively, institutions can identify new business opportunities, enhance customer service, and drive innovation. With a robust data governance framework in place, institutions have a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of their customers, allowing for personalized services and tailored offerings, creating a more competitive edge. Similarly, the ability to analyze and interpret data insights enables financial institutions to make proactive and data-driven decisions, staying ahead of the competition and adapting to changing market dynamics more efficiently.

The Benefits of an Effective Data Governance Framework


Financial institutions are constantly grappling with the complexities of data governance. With the multitude of tasks and responsibilities involved, it may be worthwhile seeking out external assistance. This is where Exmon, a leading provider of data governance solutions, steps in to offer its expertise and assist financial institutions in gaining control and trust in their data.

Exmon offers an easy-to-use and flexible data governance platform designed to empower organizations in managing their data effectively. The platform is equipped with a range of key features that cater specifically to the needs of financial institutions.

One of the standout features of Exmon’s platform is its pre-built rules. These rules are meticulously designed to address common data governance challenges faced by financial institutions. By leveraging these pre-built rules, organizations can streamline their data governance processes and ensure compliance with industry regulations and best practices.

Smart troubleshooting is another essential feature offered by Exmon. The platform provides intelligent insights and analysis, enabling organizations to quickly identify and resolve data issues. This functionality not only saves valuable time but also enhances operational efficiency by proactively addressing potential data problems before they escalate.

Comparing multiple data sources is made seamless with Exmon’s platform. Financial institutions often deal with vast amounts of data from various sources. Exmon facilitates data comparison, allowing organizations to easily identify discrepancies and inconsistencies across different datasets. This capability enhances data accuracy and enables institutions to make informed decisions based on reliable and consistent information.

Moreover, Exmon’s data governance platform is built to be enterprise-ready. It provides scalability, security, and robustness, making it suitable for financial institutions of all sizes. With stringent data security measures and the ability to handle large volumes of data, Exmon ensures that organizations can confidently manage their data while meeting industry standards and compliance requirements.

To learn more about how Exmon’s data governance platform can specifically support financial services, interested readers should find out more, here. By partnering with Exmon, financial institutions can access the expertise and tools needed to navigate the intricacies of data governance, ultimately enhancing their data management practices and driving business success.

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