Magazine article American Banker

Fifth Third Joins the List: Creates Risk Czar Post

Magazine article American Banker

Fifth Third Joins the List: Creates Risk Czar Post

Article excerpt

Fifth Third Bancorp. has become the latest major bank to add the chief risk officer title to its executive roster, tapping Wachovia Corp. risk-policy director Malcolm D. Griggs for the position.

Mr. Griggs is to join the Cincinnati company April 21. In addition to overseeing risk policy and strategy on credit, operational, and market risk, he will be responsible for ensuring Fifth Third's compliance with the forthcoming Basel Accord revision and other regulations.

"I'll be focusing on everything, whether it's consumer or commercial, brokerage or back-office operations," Mr. Griggs, 42, said in an interview Friday. "Anywhere where there is risk, there will be some involvement of the chief risk officer."

He said he jumped at the offer because the $77.7 billion-asset company has "a stellar reputation in the industry" and is one of the best-capitalized banks. "To work with Fifth Third and inaugurate the position of chief risk officer was a very tantalizing opportunity," he said.

Appointing a chief risk officer has become "a best industry practice," noted Mr. Griggs, who will also be an executive vice president. Fifth Third has "recognized that, and I'm looking forward to working with them."

Other big-name banks that have added the post of chief risk officer include Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and National City Corp. The individual who gets the title monitors everything from internal conflicts of interest to the health of business sectors in which the bank is lending money.

Many observers say that banks' huge losses from telecom, energy, and technology have necessitated the appointment of risk executives. Fear of reputation damage from regulatory action, and fear of private litigation, are other factors.

Indeed, Fifth Third is awaiting a decision from regulators over errors it made in booking Treasury bond transactions. …

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