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Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Area banker to highlight cyber security

Jack Hartings elected to top post at national banking association

By David Giesige
COLDWATER - A Coldwater bank president wants to use his new post as chairman of a national banking association to push for improved cybersecurity and de regulation.
Jack Hartings was recently elected to a one-year term as chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America and looks to advocate legislation mandating other industries to share in improving cybersecurity.
Hartings also said the banking industry bears too much of the burden in dealing with a cyberattack or online security breach. Specifically, Hartings would like to see other industries subject to oversight under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
"(GLB) requires financial institutions to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data. We would like everyone to be subject to something like GLB but this is not the case. Bankers are bearing the substantial brunt of the cost of data breaches because we are writing off much of the fraud that occurs and paying for the cost of reissuing millions of new accounts and cards," Hartings said.
"As community bankers, we believe anybody who touches our customer's information should have to protect it. If there are standards for cybersecurity shared by other industries besides just banks, we believe breaches will happen less," he said.
He said recent data breaches such as those at Target, Goodwill, Home Depot and Kmart affected local bank customers.
When a breach occurs, the bank is notified of which customers are affected. The bank's policy is to then issue new cards to the customers, something Hartings feels is "the best way to protect customers." However, issuing new cards is a major cost and inconvenience, Hartings said.
"It would be nice if we could have the cost repaid by the folks who lost the data. But if we all simply just did a better job of protecting the data, that could help stem the problem at the source," Hartings said.
He would like to see other industries have tougher cybersecurity standards. He advocates "layering" security.
"Layered security is quite simply layers of defense such as multiple firewalls, antivirus software, dual authentication, strong passwords, etc. Data security is protecting our sensitive customer information by using many of those same layers of defense," he explained.
Hartings admitted combatting hackers is similar to engaging in an arms race, with hackers continually finding new ways to breach security.
"There is never one silver bullet coming through to prevent security breaches but layering security is effective," Hartings said.
More resources need to be devoted to cybersecurity in light of the recent breaches, he said.
However, he pointed out that while cyber attacks occur "quite often," most often they are thwarted by bank security measures.
Hartings had advice for people concerned with their own personal cybersecurity.
"Use common sense. Be leery of clicking on pop-up ads online claiming to have free gifts. Look over things before you click and ask yourself: 'Does this make sense?' " he said.
He also wants to lobby for elimination of regulations bankers consider unnecessary.
"It starts with engagement," Hartings said. "We have to contact congressmen and regulators to let them know about our issues."
Banks are required to perform redundant procedures such as issuing monthly privacy notices, according to Hartings.
"We issue those privacy notices every month, and they are about four or five pages of fine print. Most people probably don't end up reading them, and they are a time and cost strain on the bank to issue," he said.
Hartings has been in the banking industry for almost 40 years and started working for The Peoples Bank in 1983. He has been the president and CEO for more than 25 years.
Hartings has been chairman of the Community Bankers of Ohio and served on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Community Bank Advisory Council. He has also been a board member of the Federal Reserve's Small Bank Advisory Board, the Ohio Banking Commission and serves on the FDIC's Community Bank Advisory Committee.
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