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Bank cybersecurity in Latin America association’s focus

Written by Richard Battin on June 18, 2024


Bank cybersecurity in Latin America association’s focus

Cybersecurity in the financial world, particularly in Latin America, will be the focus of a two-day conference in Miami next month by an international banking organization that has morphed to become far more technological and stretch well beyond banking alone.

The silicon-powered fist of technology prompted the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) to keep its initials but change what they stand for to Financial & International Business Association.

The reason, explains President and CEO David Schwartz, was the “increased number of banks utilizing innovating financial technologies.”

In addition, Mr. Schwartz told Miami Today, the association was attracting “more members that were technology companies, software providers, law and accounting firms.” The name change for the 45-year-old Miami-based association occurred in 2022.

As a result of this spontaneous diversification, Mr. Schwartz explained, “we’ve become active in the technology space.”

“Less than a month from now, we’re sponsoring a cybersecurity conference” July 8 and 9 at the InterContinental Miami Hotel.

Attendees will include banking executives, of course, as well as “chief financial and information officers,” Mr. Schwartz said, “technology security officers” and representatives of the Federal Reserve and Department of Justice. Conference members will explore new types of financial criminals.

“There have been some recent changes in Florida law,” Mr. Schwartz explained, “that can have important impact on the financial services industry regarding how whose accounts institutions can close and who they could deny service to.

“This was an initiative that started last year up in Tallahassee,” where the legislature “said that banks couldn’t just close somebody’s account because they wanted to, that you had to use a particular approach specified under the law, and that every year a bank had to attest to the fact that they were” following the law.

“This year, they went even further,” he said. “Now what they’ve done is established a customer complaint policy process whereby if the bank does close a customer’s account, the customer has the right file a complaint with the state regulator against the bank, and then an investigation will get launched, and the bank must justify to the state regulator why they closed the account.”

Florida House Bill 585, taking effect July 1, according to a report from Miami-based law firm Greenberg Traurig, “requires state-chartered and state-authorized financial institutions in Florida to file a termination-of-access report with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation each time they terminate, suspend, or take any similar action restricting” a customer’s account access.

Florida House Bill 3, according to the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, says banks and other financial institutions in Florida “are no longer permitted to consider environmental, social, and governance factors in their decisions to provide or deny services.”

The federation says these sweeping legal reforms and insurance oversight litigation are aimed at addressing “Florida’s litigious environment, strengthening economic conditions, and protecting consumers, while also continuing efforts to stabilize the state’s property insurance market.”

In this kind of wild-west era of banking, financial institutions were drawn to FIBA.

“Banks close accounts because there may be certain types of customers that they’re not able to work with” Mr. Schwartz told Miami Today, “because they don’t necessarily have the expertise in that area, especially smaller and medium-sized banks.

“And then there are groups of customers that get designated by regulators of the Treasury Department as high risk, and banks maybe don’t have an earnest appetite for those high-risk customers.”

But now, trigger-shy institutions “can’t just close or deny service to those people without having the justification…. It’s almost like banks are becoming a utility, right?” The power company can’t cut your electricity on a whim.

The upcoming security two-day conference has worldwide experts booking rooms at the downtown InterContinental Hotel Miami, where, at least for now, you can get a free night for booking two.

“We have a particular focus on Latin America for this conference, because they are extremely vulnerable. Cyber criminals always look for the most vulnerable points of entry, and some of these countries are challenged in terms of their defensive infrastructures,” Mr. Schwartz explained.

“The banks do a…

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