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Threats, tech and trusting BOK Financial

Paula Barrington, BOK Financial executive director of Treasury Services, talks cybersecurity and tech evolution in the new year

By Cydney Baron | February 5, 2021

From a treasury perspective, what are the most significant threats for businesses as the pandemic continues?

We’re seeing a significant increase in fraud of all types. There was a reported 148% increase in ransomware attacks from February to March 2020 and phishing was up 85%. We know that phishing attacks account for more than 80% of reported security incidents, with $17,700 lost every minute due to phishing attacks.

Also, we’re aware of fraud generating from threat actors leveraging the pandemic through social engineering. An example of this is threat actors impersonating the World Health Organization or Center of Disease Control and Prevention and luring victims to click on links with fear-based language suggesting there’s an outbreak in their area.

Unfortunately, compromised business email due to employees working from home has continued to increase as well.

What technology innovations have staying power post-pandemic?

One positive outcome of the pandemic is that it forced us to move forward on technologies through digital channels. Clients are adopting electronic payments and fraud prevention services. We’re seeing clients more readily embracing services like mobile deposit and remote deposit capture to eliminate the need to take check deposits to the bank. Also, corporate credit cards and ACH are being leveraged for electronic payments and automated workflows, thus eliminating the need to sign checks for these payment types.

Advancements in technology have revolutionized receivables tools, too, such as remote deposit capture, remote lockbox scanning and electronic business invoicing. Embracing these technologies make for healthier business practices and could empower employees to work from home more efficiently.

These offerings are here to stay even after returning to offices becomes feasible, and they help improve efficiencies for our clients.

What impact will the second round of PPP stimulus have on businesses that are struggling?

Businesses and lenders learned a lot through the first PPP process. One thing we’ve shared with clients is that it’s important to take your time through the application process to be sure you do it right. As was the case in the last round, companies that receive PPP support could receive scrutiny because the information is publically available. We reference a variety of tips for business owners as they begin the application process here.

Why trust BOK Financial?

We’ve been in the banking business for 100 years and in that time we’ve weathered countless economic storms with our clients. Safety and soundness of their financial institution is the number one consideration for our clients, and because we were the largest financial institution in the 2008 financial crisis that didn’t need or accept government assistance, they know they can count on us to weather this storm as well as others that will come our way in the future.

About Paula Barrington

As executive vice president, executive director of Treasury Services for BOK Financial, Paula Barrington oversees all facets of the Treasury Services business including sales, client onboarding, product management/development, corporate cards, commercial deposit rate management and strategy. Paula has worked in this field since 1985.

Paula is a member of the Association for Financial Professionals, secretary/treasurer and board member of EPCOR (a regional payment association) and is a graduate of Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, Leadership OKC XVI, and Leadership Oklahoma XXIX.