Cybersecurity threats, DEI initiative updates top April board meeting

Cybersecurity threats to credit unions and initiatives highlighting the NCUA’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives topped the agenda at the agency’s board of directors April meeting on Thursday.

Cybersecurity threats to credit unions
Geopolitical tensions, supply chain risks, ransomware, COVID-19 and cyber criminality have contributed to a dynamic threat landscape that creates evolving risks for federally insured credit unions, according to a briefing provided to the board by the agency’s Critical Infrastructure Division. Additionally, the potential for Russian cyber retaliation resulting from the United States’ support of Ukraine is an imminent danger, according to the briefing.

“Each of us — the NCUA, state supervisory authorities, credit unions, and vendors — has a responsibility to protect our IT systems, improve our collective ability to recover from incidents, educate our employees, share information, and report and address potential vulnerabilities. All of us must do our part and be cybersmart,” said Todd Harper, NCUA chairman.

The NCUA strongly encouraged credit unions to strengthen their institution’s cybersecurity programs and preparedness and immediately report cyber incidents to the NCUA, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Credit unions are also encouraged to download and use the NCUA’s Automated Cybersecurity Evaluation Toolbox, or ACET. Additional cyber-related information is available on the NCUA’s cybersecurity resources webpage.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program update
The board also received a briefing by the Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion on the agency’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging activities for hiring, employee retention and supplier diversity.

Highlights from the briefing include:

  • 42.4% of the NCUA’s new hires in 2021 were people of color;
  • 36.8% of the NCUA’s total reportable contracting dollars for the year were awarded to minority- or women-owned businesses; and
  • 240 federally insured credit unions submitted Voluntary Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessments in 2021, compared to 188 in 2020.

Board members were also updated on how the NCUA supports minority depository institutions and opportunities for enhancing and fostering greater diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within the credit union system. More information on NCUA’s efforts can be found in the NCUA’s OMWI Annual Report to Congress.

The next NCUA board of directors meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 26. It will be streamed live on the NCUA website, and results will be reported in The New York Minute.

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