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Bank Boards of Directors Key Risks and Responsibilities in 2021: Actions Counsel Should Take Now

Climate Change, Cybersecurity, Access to Banking and Credit

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will offer guidance to bank counsel on three critical areas of risk that will impact U.S. banks in 2021--climate change, cybersecurity, and social justice--and steps the bank boards they advise should take to address the evolving regulatory framework around these issues.


The risks facing banks and their governing boards are constantly evolving. Current issues demanding particular attention include climate change, cybersecurity, and equitable access to banking services and credit. Counsel must have a thorough understanding of the current regulatory environment and potential legal risks facing financial institutions in these areas, and how bank boards should respond with governance and oversight measures that can mitigate these risks.

In May 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order asking the Treasury Department to work with the Financial Stability Oversight Council to assess risks that climate change poses to the financial system. Bank boards should prepare for this new focus on climate-related financial risks by assessing their climate risk exposure, estimating potential losses that could result from various climate-related scenarios, and creating a framework for public disclosure and reporting of climate risks affecting the bank.

Many banks have not sufficiently invested in cybersecurity and risk losing sensitive data and access to their systems in the event of a cyber attack. Regulators are increasingly focused on technology risk management, recently requiring reporting of significant incidents within 36 hours and broadening the types of incidents that must be reported. Directors must assess their incident response procedures and have systems in place for evaluation of third-party service providers and notification of security incidents that could affect the bank.

Social justice has gained increasing attention in the banking sector. Regulators have signaled renewed focus on equitable access to banking services, consumer protection, and discriminatory lending. Bank boards should examine and adjust their customer-facing procedures accordingly.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses risks of particular concern for banks in 2021 and what boards of directors should do to mitigate those risks.



  1. Banking risks for bank boards in 2021: legal and regulatory
  2. Climate change: risk management, disclosure
  3. Cybersecurity: emerging risks and issues in focus for regulators
  4. Consumer protection, equal access to banking services, anti-discrimination initiatives


The panel will review these and other critical questions:

  • How should banks go about assessing financial risks associated with climate change?
  • Has the move to online banking increased the vulnerability of banks to cyber attacks? How can the risks be mitigated?
  • What kinds of cybersecurity protocols should a board put in place for third-party service providers?
  • What steps should companies be taking to protect themselves, and what disclosure controls should be in place to respond to a cyber incident?
  • What are the potential legal and regulatory consequences of discriminatory banking practices?


Friedlander, Nicole
Nicole Friedlander

Sullivan & Cromwell

Ms. Friedlander is a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and co-head...  |  Read More

Treviño, Marc
Marc Treviño

Sullivan & Cromwell

Mr. Treviño is the co-head of the firm’s corporate governance practice, the managing partner of its...  |  Read More

Wood, Allison
Allison D. Wood


Ms. Wood is nationally recognized as a leader in the field of environmental law, particularly in the area of climate...  |  Read More

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