December 10, 2014


WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) held a hearing titled “Cybersecurity:  Enhancing Coordination to Protect the Financial Sector.”
Below is Chairman Johnson’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“I call this hearing to order.
“For my last hearing as Banking Committee Chairman, I am focusing on an issue that will require action in the next Congress and beyond. 
“Responsible management of cyber risks by financial institutions is important for consumer protection, financial stability, privacy, and national security.  Not only are financial institutions frequent targets of cyber crime, they are uniquely interconnected with major sectors of the economy.  Cyberattacks may cause damage to the financial system without directly attacking a bank, including through third party providers. 
“Earlier this year, I held a hearing on the role of financial regulators in ensuring that institutions protect consumer information.  Since then, we have seen one of the biggest data breaches in history at JPMorgan.  We must ensure that consumers have confidence in the financial system, and that hard work is done by industry and government together to prevent data breaches before they occur and respond quickly and in coordination when breaches do occur.  
“However, data breach is only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle.  That is why Ranking Member Crapo and I asked federal and state banking regulators and Treasury to provide information about each agency’s protection of our financial system from cyberattacks.  I am entering each agency’s response into the record and I expect the regulators’ continued vigilance on cybersecurity. 
“Safeguarding cyberspace has become increasingly complex as our lives become more entwined with technology.  Technological innovation in financial services, such as mobile payments, peer-to-peer lending, and cloud computing, can facilitate improvements in the consumer experience and economic growth.  However, these innovations highlight the crucial need for sound cybersecurity policy, as many of these products are outside of the regulated financial sector. 
“I have asked today’s witnesses to discuss each of their roles in responding to cyber threats and how to improve information sharing.  Law enforcement, the intelligence community, Treasury, and financial regulators each may have different missions, but in addressing cybersecurity concerns they all must be united in what some call a “whole government” approach.  I look forward to hearing more about cross-sector risks to the financial system, challenges facing small financial institutions, and how effective your partnerships with the private sector have been in improving cybersecurity practices.  
“Cybersecurity is one of the most important issues facing the financial system.  I urge all of the witnesses today, as well as policymakers in the next Congress, to act quickly to address cybersecurity concerns.
“Before I turn to Ranking Member Crapo for the last time, I want to say one more time to him and his staff:  Thank you for being such good partners as we sought to run our committee in a civil, bipartisan way. To my other colleagues on this Committee, it has been a pleasure working with all of you over many years.
“I now turn to Senator Crapo for his opening statement.”