In addition to the “fiscal cliff,” America is facing a plethora of new regulations that will become effective at approximately the same time. Call it a “regulatory cliff.” The sheer number of new rules will make compliance difficult, time consuming, and expensive.

Financial institutions of all sizes will be subject to new exams by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Preparing for the exams will be very costly, particularly for smaller banks, which have never been subject to such rigorous scrutiny.

“They are not ready for the kind of exam that the CFPB will conduct,” said Alan S. Kaplinsky, who leads Ballard Spahr’s nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Group. “I think unfortunately that a lot of exams are going to result in enforcement actions.”