The world can be unpredictable: Natural disasters, cyberattacks and pandemics are just some of the events that the community banking industry has faced recently, and it’s simply a fact that they will happen again. 

ICBA’s Crisis Preparedness resources ( can help your community bank get ahead of the unexpected. The website offers comprehensive resources for banks to help themselves and their customers during times of crisis. 

Here’s a quick look at what’s included, from guides on hurricane preparedness and operational risk to a how-to on crisis response.

Natural disaster preparedness

The hurricane preparedness page includes resources on how to prepare for a hurricane and what to do once it hits. It will contain up-to-date resources including a map of the predicted hurricane path, airport closures and boil water notices.

In addition, you can find information on where to turn if you have questions about questionable or suspicious emails related to the disaster, including those asking for donations or help. 

During hurricanes, ICBA serves as a representative for community banks on National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls. The ICBA Operational Risk team also provides contacts for banks affected by natural disasters.

Hurricanes aren’t the only natural disasters that pose threats to banks’ operations. ICBA also provides resources to help with several other natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, drought and volcanic eruptions. Examples include various guides for natural disaster planning and managing your bank’s business continuity in the event of a disaster.

Operational risk

ICBA’s Crisis Preparedness site also offers extensive resources for cybersecurity attacks. In addition to stating ICBA’s official positions on cybersecurity and providing a list of vendors that can help community banks protect themselves, this section offers the following:

  • Communication templates: Guides are provided for both bank and third-party breaches. ICBA also offers templates in the event of a Visa or Mastercard data breach. This includes advice on how to communicate with customers and the media.

  • Mitigation: In addition to links to helpful resources from agencies like the FBI and the CFPB, this section includes guides from ICBA on important topics such as ransomware, data privacy laws and proper cybersecurity incident response.

  • Training: Knowing how to prevent and mitigate cyberattacks is critical, and ICBA Education can help. This section has resources from ICBA Education’s IT Institute, Risk Management Institute and BSA/AML Institute, among others.

  • Exercises: In this section, members can access two hypothetical scenarios. One relates to a bank supply-chain breach, the other a core provider supply-chain breach. Both let you work through a realistic situation without an actual threat.

As well as cybersecurity resources, ICBA offers information on how to keep bank staff and employees secure physically. ICBA provides trainings on important topics like combating workplace violence, active shooters and robbery prevention. This page also includes physical security alerts.

Consumer and business response

Just as community banks should have a disaster preparedness plan, so should your customers—and there are resources you can pass along to them. Tips for individuals include:

  • Proper document storage: Put important documents like those relating to proof of identity, insurance policies and property ownership in bank safe-deposit boxes, protecting them with plastic to prevent spoilage from moisture.

  • Making additional copies: Make more than one physical copy of birth certificates, adoption papers, marriage licenses and similar documents. Tell relatives, attorneys or trustees where they are located.

  • Back up your backup: Make digital copies of important documents.

  • Inventory your valuables: Take photos and have the receipts for valuable household items to assess replacement costs.

  • Print out key info: Have physical copies of the contact information for guardians, executors and trustees. Give them to trusted people or store them in a safe place.

Community banks can’t control climate, technology or even people, but they can prepare for the unexpected. ICBA’s resources can help.

In the wake of crisis

The ICBA Foundation raised money for relief efforts following the wildfires in Maui this past August and 2022’s Hurricane Ian. Read more about these efforts and other natural disaster-related news at