Bank Lobbyists Urge Congress to Consider Existing Cybersecurity Rules

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Byline: Brian Browdie

The U.S. government's push to fortify the nation's cyber defenses should complement industry efforts, bank and credit union lobbying groups are expected to tell Congress on Tuesday.

Financial networks are already subject to significant laws, regulations and standards that tie to cybersecurity, the American Bankers Association said in testimony prepared for a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The hearing, at which the panel is expected to take testimony from the financial, energy, telecommunications and defense industries, comes amid a push by the White House for a voluntary system that would encourage sharing of information about pending threats among the government and owners of critical infrastructure. The hearing also follows a report Sunday that hackers backed by China's military have resumed a campaign of cyberattacks on American businesses.

An order issued by President Obama in February gave the National Institute of Standards and Technology eight months to delineate a preliminary information-sharing framework.

"ABA believes it is particularly important that NIST's efforts...complement and build upon existing cybersecurity standards adopted by the U.S. financial services industry," Charles Blauner, Citigroup's (NYSE:C) global head of information security, wrote in prepared testimony on behalf of the trade group.

The ABA supports both the Obama administration's development of the framework and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, a bill the House passed in April that would authorize U.S. intelligence agencies to share cyber threats with private-sector firms, according to Blauner, who also chairs the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council.

The council's members include JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, MasterCard (MA), PayPal, Visa (NYSE:V) and roughly 48 other companies, associations and exchanges. …