CUNA, partners urge vote to fight 'omnipresent' cyber danger

November 20, 2015

WASHINGTON (11/20/15)--The threat of cyberattacks is a real and omnipresent danger to the financial services sector and it is critical that cybersecurity information-sharing legislation be enacted before the next crisis, not after, CUNA told members of U.S. Congress in a joint letter Thursday.

The House and Senate are preparing to join in conference committee to work out differences between their respective cybersecurity bills. The conference comes in anticipation of approving a final bill that would be sent to the White House for the president's signature.

The joint letter notes that the financial services sector shares federal lawmakers' goal of enacting legislation to enhance voluntary cyberthreat information-sharing among the private sector and the federal government.

However, CUNA and its partners urged the conference lawmakers to drop a provision found in the Senate's version of the legislation (S. 754).  

The provision directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal entities to assess the security of critical infrastructure entities and develop a security strategy for each entity. The assessment should "ensure that, to the greatest extent feasible” a cyber incident would not have catastrophic consequences. DHS also would be required to report its assessment and strategy for each entity to several congressional committees.

"This provision is simply at odds with the overall goal of a comprehensive, voluntary information sharing framework, and should it survive the process, could jeopardize our support for the underlying" final bill, the letter states.

The letter was sent to the leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Permanent Select Committee. All members of both chambers were copied.

The joint letter is signed by CUNA, American Bankers Association, American Insurance Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Electronic Transactions Association, Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, Investment Company Institute, NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, The Clearing House and U.S. Securities Markets Coalition.