Texas Bankers Technology and Operations Show Synopsis

The  2011 TBA Technology and Operations conference,  held at the Horseshoe Bay Resort in Cottonwood Shores provided  a lot of usable information.  The presentations and discussions  and networking with technology vendors and experts on panels covered subjects ranging from Social networking use in banking to examination hot buttons straight from the regulators.  Here are some highlights:

Best Talks 

As always, Lee Wetherington of ProfitStars related emerging technologies and new banking trends in his signature amusing way.   Lee is a conference regular and favorite for his interesting and engaging talks

Best presentation of show goes to Tim Leonard of Commercial Bank of Texas for his enlightening and frightening talk on ID Theft.  He had examples of ID thieves gear and counterfeits to pass around and talked about the many ways that techno-criminals attempt to steal your customer’s personal information.

Examiners Corner

As mentioned earlier, Regulators from various branches of government had a panel discussing items they would be focusing on during upcoming IT examinations.  This talk was highly useful for bankers wanting to be prepared for their exams.  Here is what they had to say:

Philip Hinkle – Texas Department of Banking

  1. Virtualization was a hot topic as banks continue to convert and switch over to this cost saving technology. While virtualization offers many benefits, there are pitfalls to be avoided in these deployments
  2. Third Party agreements and oversight will also be a focus on state IT exams to make sure that banks are properly managing outside IT vendors.  He emphasized while you may outsource much of your IT function, the bank is ultimately responsible for the results of those efforts.

Robert Hurd – Office of the Currency Controller

The OCC representative had four  areas of concern for his department:

  1. Online security.   Online banking, internet security and other public outbound connections continue to be a primary source of IT fraud and risk for banks
  2. Internal controls:  The old standbys of segregation of duties, dual control and audit are being revisited as an area that needs attention
  3. Disaster Recovery Plans have become an area that needs attention; given several weather related disasters in the last few years as well as the looming threat of pandemic or terroristic acts.  He emphasized that banks should focus on the more likely disasters rather than the “Armageddon” scenarios.
  4. Social media – This emerging technology is being promoted as a new marketing panacea but has many downsides, both from a security and regulatory standpoint. Banks that don’t already have one should develop a social networking policy to control and monitor use.

James Brignac  of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Ray Woods of the  Federal Reserve Bank also discussed the risks involved in social media and virtualization.  Mr. Brignac stressed the importance of evaluating the carefully considering all of the issues before embarking on a virtualization program.

As always, the general theme is the game keeps getting harder and harder, so you better choose your vendor/partners carefully, maintain oversight, monitor risk and be militant.

That’s about it for the TBA Technology and Operations Conference 2011.  Hope to see you next year!

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