In reaching out to some sources for our coverage on how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 changed the banking industry, I was made aware of the existence of a group called the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSCC).
Many of our readers are probably familiar with this organization, but I was not, and I suspect much of the public at large may not be either. After the attacks, financial services leaders and the U.S. Treasury Department established the council along with the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee. The purpose of these two groups was to work with government agencies to identify and protect critical infrastructure.
Since Sept. 11, the focus of the groups has shifted from trying to fight terrorism to making the nation more resilient and dealing with new challenges, including cybersecurity. The council also coordinates information during emergency situations, such as when Hurricane Irene wracked the east coast recently. During the storm, the groups helped facilitate a continuous flow of information to help financial institutions and their customers prepare for the storm and to recover quickly.
Jane Carlin, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, is also chairperson of the FSSCC, and shared some thoughts with Bank Systems & Technology on how the events of Sept. 11 changed the financial services industry and how partnering with the government has helped combat security threats.
"Sept. 11 was a wake-up call for expanding coordination between government and the private sector," she said. "To say we've got it 100 percent right would be an overstatement. However, we have expanded beyond a recovery mind set to enhanced resiliency, which is enormously positive. We have vastly improved our understanding of emerging threats. We also have improved our response times so that we recover more quickly."
Carlin added that there is increased sharing of information between experts and executives from the financial sector and government agencies.
"We know more now about where the threats are coming from and have been able to respond far more quickly than we ever would have been able to pre-9/11," she said.