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Cyberattacks Tops List of Community Bankers’ Concerns

By Thomas F. Siems, Ph.D., CSBS Chief Economist 

Following all the economic and financial turmoil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic ― including business lockdowns, restrictions on travel and significant employment displacements (particularly in the leisure and hospitality sector) ― community bankers are increasingly concerned about cyberattacks. According to a special question included in the fourth quarter 2021 CSBS Community Bank Sentiment Index (CBSI) survey, community bankers’ top concerns are cyberattacks, government regulation, the cost and availability of labor and inflation (see chart). 

Chart1

Using a 4-point Likert scale with 1 as “not at all” concerned and 4 as “extremely” concerned, the weighted-average calculations show that these four responses are all rated 3.25 or higher, indicating a much higher percentage of “moderately concerned” and “extremely concerned” responses. Indeed, 48% of community bankers are “extremely concerned” about cyberattacks. When combining the “moderately concerned” and “extremely concerned” responses, nearly 95% of community bankers rate cyberattacks as their top concern, compared to 82% one year ago

On the other end of the spectrum, community bankers say they are least concerned with climate risk, personal/business bankruptcies and the quality of their loan portfolios. Only 3% of community bankers are “extremely concerned” about climate risk, and less than 1% indicate they are “extremely concerned” about the quality of their loan portfolios and personal/business bankruptcies.  

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