Carrie Lichter, Fifth Third Bancorp | Most Powerful Women: Next

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Chief operational risk officer

Whenever a bank introduces new technology as a convenience for customers, it must deal with an inevitable reality: enterprising thieves.

Take cardless ATMs as an example.

This feature allows a customer to withdraw cash from an ATM using just their smartphone. But some criminals have figured out how to use phished account credentials to add a new phone number and then siphon off cash.


This is just one of the problems Fifth Third Bancorp deals with in its new high-tech war room, which it calls the cyber fusion center.

As chief operational risk officer, Carrie Lichter played a key role in bringing the center to life. Her work earned her a spot as one of the 15 women on our inaugural Next list. (An extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program, the list is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.)

The idea for a war room came up when Lichter and her team started updating the Cincinnati bank's overall risk management practices. Cyber risk was top of mind, and in thinking about how the bank could better manage this risk, she knew that collaboration across different teams was essential. But how to make that happen in a seamless way?

"The cyber fusion center is a place for those teams to come together and understand if it's happening in one channel or multiple channels, collaborate on stopping that, and also ensure that it's mitigated across multiple channels," she said. "That collaboration is key."

"She has substantially enhanced our operational risk programs, focusing on driving front line accountability and strengthening second line oversight and challenge." — Frank Forrest, chief risk officer

In the case of cardless ATM fraud, the information security team identifies the phishing activity happening online, while the fraud team roots out illicit transactions on a customer's account. They then communicate with the bank protection team, which works with law enforcement to coordinate an arrest.

The cyber fusion center facilitates a speedier response by allowing all of those teams to do their part in the same room. It's also a place where Fifth Third's tech teams can monitor worldwide cyber threats in real time and participate in training scenarios to stay sharp.

Nominating executive: Frank Forrest, chief risk officer

What he says: Forrest calls Lichter “a key leader and rising star” who has successfully led several important enterprisewide initiatives, including an improved approach to the due diligence and integration of acquisitions. “She has substantially enhanced our operational risk programs, focusing on driving front line accountability and strengthening second line oversight and challenge,” Forrest wrote in nominating Lichter for the Next list.

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