Press Release

Bank Director Releases 2021 Risk Survey Results

BRENTWOOD, TENN., Mar. 30, 2021 – Bank Director, the leading information resource for directors and officers of financial institutions nationwide, today released its 2021 Risk Survey, sponsored by Moss Adams LLP. The findings reveal how the banking industry responded when the economy spiraled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The survey reveals high levels of anxiety across the risk spectrum,” says Emily McCormick, vice president of research at Bank Director. “Despite this, bankers express some optimism, particularly around their local economies and the positive impact the pandemic has had on the reputations of most community banks.”

The 2021 Risk Survey explores how financial institutions across the country assisted small businesses by issuing Paycheck Protection Program loans and modifying loan terms. At the peak of the downturn, 43% of the directors, CEOs, chief risk officers and other senior executives responding to the survey say their bank modified over 10% of the loans in their portfolio. More than three-quarters believe that supporting their communities during the pandemic has positively affected their bank’s reputation.

“The pandemic created unforeseen challenges for financial institutions,” says Craig Sanders, a partner at Moss Adams. “Their response and support for their communities were a boon to the industry’s reputation, while keeping loan portfolios healthy and creating process improvements for banks moving forward.”

Forty-three percent say their bank tightened underwriting standards during the downturn. Looking ahead, many are unsure whether they’ll ease their standards to lend to business customers in 2021 and 2022.

Key Findings Include:

More Robust Stress Testing
More than 80% say their bank conducts an annual stress test. Of these, 60% have expanded the quantity and/or depth of economic scenarios examined in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cybersecurity Gaps
Sixty-three percent say their institution increased its oversight of cybersecurity and data privacy in 2020. Most say the bank needs to improve its cybersecurity program by training staff (68%) and implementing technology to better detect or deter threats and intrusions (65%).

Pandemic Plans Adjusted
Respondents identify several areas where they’ll enhance their business continuity plan as a result of the pandemic. The majority point to formalizing remote work procedures and policies (77%), educating and training employees (56%) and/or providing the right tools to staff (55%). Roughly half say that fewer than a quarter of employees will work remotely when the pandemic abates; 25% say that no employees will work remotely.

Banking Marijuana
Forty-one percent of respondents represent a bank headquartered where marijuana use is at least partly legal. Overall, one-third are unsure if their bank would be willing to serve marijuana businesses. Just 7% serve these businesses; 34% have discussed banking this industry but don’t work with these companies yet.

The survey includes the views of 188 directors, CEOs, chief risk officers and other senior executives of U.S. banks below $50 billion in assets. Full survey results are now available online at

About Bank Director
Since 1991, Bank Director has served as a leading information resource for the directors and officers of financial institutions. Through Bank Director magazine, executive-level research, annual conferences and its website,, Bank Director reaches the leaders of the institutions that comprise America’s banking industry. Bank Director is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more information, please visit

About Moss Adams LLP
With more than 3,400 professionals across 25-plus locations in the West and beyond, Moss Adams provides the world’s most innovative companies, including over 400 financial institutions, with specialized accounting and consulting services to help them embrace emerging opportunities. Discover how Moss Adams is bringing more West to Business. Visit us at

For more information, please contact Bank Director’s Director of Marketing, Deahna Welcher, at


Emily McCormick

Vice President of Editorial & Research

Emily McCormick is Vice President of Editorial & Research for Bank Director. Emily oversees research projects, from in-depth reports to Bank Director’s annual surveys on M&A, risk, compensation, governance and technology. She also manages content for the Bank Services Program. In addition to regularly speaking and moderating discussions at Bank Director’s in-person and virtual events, Emily regularly writes and edits for Bank Director magazine and She started her career in the circulation department at the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and graduated summa cum laude from The University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and International Business.