Rebeca Romero Rainey: Mitigating cybercrime

Rebeca Romero Rainey
Photo by Robert Severi

We know that despite the frights cyberattacks bring, you continue to flourish by safeguarding the communities you serve.

It strikes me as interesting that both Halloween and Cybersecurity Awareness Month fall in October. After all, the rapid rise in fraud during the pandemic would spook anyone and definitely keeps community bankers up at night, which is why meaningful monitoring and action continue to be necessary.

While community banks have done much to safeguard their institutions, ongoing vigilance is needed. According to the Ransomware Task Force, ransomware gangs stole three times more in 2020 than they did in 2019, and projections indicate that worldwide cybercrime costs will hit $6 trillion for this year.

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Where I’ll Be

I’m looking forward to convening in person during our leadership and committee meetings, Oct. 17–21, and throughout the fall, including at the Western State Directors Education Foundation Symposium in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Oct. 25.

These statistics are hair-raising, but ICBA and our industry have been working diligently to prevent sweeping impacts. In fact, community bankers have instituted processes to thwart attacks, including taking actions to halt these scary scenarios. Here are a few examples:

  • Educating customers. Customers are the first line of defense in cyberattacks. The work you have done and continue to do to educate your customers allows them to better take control of their actions, such as not clicking on links or sharing personally identifiable information in emails or texts. If they understand the lengths fraudsters will go to access their accounts, they are better prepared to protect the point of entry.
  • Sharing information. When a cyberattack occurs, community banks share information with peers to help prevent losses. This knowledge transfer extends internally. All levels of the organization need to be up to speed on cyber risk, how it’s being mitigated and the resources available to them.
  • Resourcing teams appropriately. Cybersecurity has to be constantly managed to keep up with threats. Having the right team—whether through internal resources, external solution providers or a combination—is so important. It’s about finding the best mix for your bank and making sure you’re supporting the team to stay on top of emerging risks.

In addition to these efforts, ICBA reinforces your cybersecurity activities through the Operational Risk Resource Center. This center offers tools to help you navigate cybersecurity. Beyond that, this month’s Independent Banker is dedicated to the topic and will give you additional ideas to help you on your cybersecurity journey.

Our goal is to support you in your efforts to mitigate cyberattacks and their effects on your community. Because we know that despite the frights cyberattacks bring, you continue to flourish by safeguarding the communities you serve.


Rebeca Romero Rainey
President and CEO, ICBA
Connect with Rebeca @romerorainey