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May 12, 2023

Risk Management’s Latest Trial by Crisis

Hear veteran risk manager, advisor and professor Clifford Rossi’s perspective on recent turmoil in the banking system, on where risk management fell short, and the profession’s readiness for future challenges.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and subsequent events inevitably invited comparisons with past crises. It was widely assumed that the damages of 2023 would be more contained than those of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. But they could similarly leave a long tail, with economic and regulatory repercussions well into the future.

A clear parallel between 2008 and 2023 is the spotlight placed on risk management. In the intervening years, the risk function in banking and financial services grew in prestige and responsibility – and its failings were documented as having played a role in SVB’s demise.

Drawing from regulatory experience early in his career, to senior risk and credit positions at major financial institutions, to his current professorship at the University of Maryland, Cliff Rossi has lived through multiple crises while observing the effectiveness and evolution of risk management. GARP Risk Intelligence’s CRO Outlook columnist, Rossi has been especially critical of boards of directors’ risk governance, one of many timely subjects covered in his podcast conversation with GARP contributing editor Jeff Kutler.



Clifford Rossi (PhD) is an Executive-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He is also the author of GARP’s monthly “CRO Outlook” column.

Prior to entering academia, Rossi had nearly 25 years of experience in banking and government, having held senior executive roles in risk management at several of the largest financial services companies. His most recent position was Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer for Citigroup’s Consumer Lending Group, where he was responsible for overseeing the risk of a $300+B global portfolio of mortgage, home equity, student loans and auto loans with 700 employees under his direction. While there he was intimately involved in Citi’s TARP and stress test activities. He also served as Chief Credit Officer at Washington Mutual (WaMu) and as Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer at Countrywide Bank.

Previous to these assignments, Rossi held senior risk management positions at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. He started his career during the thrift crisis at the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Domestic Finance and later at the Office of Thrift Supervision working on key policy issues affecting depositories. Rossi was also an adjunct professor in the Finance Department at the Robert H. Smith School of Business for eight years and has numerous academic and nonacademic articles on banking industry topics. Rossi is frequently quoted on financial policy issues in major newspapers and has appeared on such programs as C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and CNN’s Situation Room. His book for risk practitioners and graduate students, A Risk Professional's Survival Guide, was published in 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. His research interests are in financial and nonfinancial risk management, risk governance and analytics and climate risk.


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