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First Bank of Berne recently hosted a Cybersecurity and Fraud Symposium for area businesses in order to help them better prepare for and protect their customers, employees and organizations from the reputational and financial aftermath caused by cybercrimes. According to the latest global Cyberthreat Defense Report, “Last year, 89 percent of U.S. organizations were compromised by a cyber attack and 78 percent dealt with a ransomware attack.” Pete Schmidt, the Chief Risk Officer for First Bank of Berne said, “Despite the growing threat cybercrime presents, there are a number of steps businesses can take to protect their customers and data from becoming the next victim, and that’s our goal with this symposium. Knowledge is power, and we want business leaders to walk away feeling informed and empowered.”

The well-attended event featured a panel of experts who covered several topics critical to business owners operating in the modern marketplace. Subjects included how to identify in-house vulnerabilities, understanding online threats, and how to plan for and implement processes that keep confidential business and customer information safe from hackers, ransomware, malware, identity theft, and more. First Bank of Berne’s panel of banking and cybersecurity experts represent the institution’s most knowledgeable leaders with regard to ransomware, data encryption, and anti-hacking technology, and featured:

  • Pete Schmidt, Chief Risk Officer
  • Rick Gorrell, Information Security Officer
  • Jeremy Vance, Electronic Banking Manager


Attendees of the symposium were given real-world examples of best practices leading financial institutions use to secure and protect their systems, processes, financial data, and profits. Schmidt shared that another goal of the symposium was to help business owners learn how they can partner with their financial institutions to enhance the security of customer and vendor transactions. Jenilee Bransteter, Business Banking Manager who helped organize the event, said, “Trust is an essential component of any successful customer relationship, and we want area businesses to know that by working together, we can better protect their business and customers from the ever-increasing threat of cybercrimes.”

In addition to enjoying interactive presentations, symposium attendees engaged in lively discussions with panel experts regarding different approaches to mitigating online risks and preventing data breaches. Vance, who fielded several audience questions, said, “First Bank of Berne is committed to educating businesses on how to defend themselves against the latest threats to their operation. Being vigilant about cybersecurity is critical to the productivity and profitability of daily business operations and must play a key role in an organization’s everyday practices.”

To learn more about how First Bank of Berne can help your business enhance cyber security and prevent fraud, contact our Business Banking Manager, Jenilee Bransteter via email at:

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