Bank Director Staff Writer

The Cecilian Bank’s adoption of EMV chips in credit and debit cards made Emily Burks’ job easier in at least one respect: As senior vice president and customer support officer at the Cecilia, Kentucky-based bank, she no longer receives frequent lists of compromised cards that have potentially been counterfeited.

But in spite of that technological improvement, overall payments fraud has ballooned in the years since, says Burks. Like many of its peers, the $1.5 billion subsidiary of First Cecilian Bancorp has contended with greater volumes of card-not-present fraud, check fraud and scams taking place over person-to-person payment channels.

Fraud prevention can feel like a game of Whac-A-Mole for community banks. Once one channel has been secured or fortified, bad actors find another way to rip people off — and send banks scrambling. Emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, show some promise for fraud prevention and mitigation. But AI also presents a double-edged sword: Burks says The Cecilian Bank recently encountered its first instance of AI-generated fraud.

A zero-trust model, in which a customer must regularly verify several separate pieces of data, can be a tough pill for many community banks to swallow but the alternative — customers getting scammed and losing trust in their financial institution because of those losses — is even less appealing.

“It’s a hard road to take,” says Burks, “but you’re going to have huge losses if you don’t have that zero-trust environment.” 

To download the report, sponsored by CSI, click here.