Nichols Comments on Political, Cyber Risks Facing Banks

Speaking on a virtual panel at FT Live’s Global Banking Summit Wednesday, American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols addressed top risks and challenges facing the banking industry, including the shifting regulatory and policy environment.

In addition to changing regulators and dynamics at U.S. banking agencies and pending policy decisions on cryptocurrency rules, central bank digital currencies and other major issues, Nichols raised concerns about efforts on both sides of the political spectrum to politicize the business of banking. “Banks should not be a substitute when elected leaders can’t reach consensus on domestic or societal or tough policy issues,” he noted.

Nichols also addressed the rising threat of cyber risk and how the banking industry has responded. “The banking sector is positioned better than many of our peer industries, but we’ve got to stay ahead of this group of rogue players in the global marketplace,” Nichols said. He highlighted several recent ABA initiatives to help banks of all sizes and consumers guard against cyberattacks, including an ABA ransomware toolkit for banks, cyber threat coordination with the federal government, and the association’s award-winning #BanksNeverAskThat campaign which empowers consumers on how to spot bogus bank communications.

Nichols also flagged several additional risks that have arisen due in part to the pandemic, including the rising rate environment, talent acquisition, retention and development and the rapid convergence of banking and technology.