July 29, 2021

“New York’s banking industry recognizes the proven value and importance of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and representative leadership, both of which are critical to meeting the needs of the mosaic of communities and customers we serve and celebrate. Today’s announcement by the Department of Financial Services is a welcome one, in that it takes a prudent and methodical approach of understanding the progress the industry has made thus far, before considering establishing new regulatory standards. DFS’ plan also recognizes the scope and breadth of our industry, and the varying degrees of challenges that some financial institutions may have in their progress. We also congratulate DFS for including the growing non-bank sector in its plan, creating an early expectation of a level playing field across all sectors.  As a trade group, NYBA looks forward to working with policymakers on this critical issue and will continue to support all of our members’ work toward their diversity goals by providing education and development resources.”



December 1, 2020

Dear Association Colleague, 

Today a new chapter begins for the New York Bankers Association, as I officially transition to the role of President & CEO. I am humbled and honored by the outpouring of support and confidence already, and I look forward to working with all of you in this new role. 

First, and with the utmost gratitude, I want to say thank you to Mike Smith, our steadfast CEO since 1989, as he marks his 45th and final anniversary at the Association today. I appreciate his leadership, mentorship, and kindness throughout my time at NYBA, particularly in this transition. We are all so grateful for his lifetime of work with the Association, and the banking industry is indebted to his service and leadership for so many years. We have already begun to honor Mike's contributions in small ways, but plan to join together for a proper celebration when it is safe and appropriate to do so. We'll be sharing these plans in the future. 

As I begin my work today, I am cognizant of the significant challenges that our industry faces, but I am also inspired by the near-Herculean task each and every one of you undertook in response to the many crises we faced this year. You went above and beyond for customers, you helped to save small businesses, you contributed both financially and in service to charity and philanthropic programs, and you helped to provide the means to hold communities together- all in an ever-changing and, at times frustrating, political, legislative and regulatory landscape. And you continue to do so today. We are so proud to represent you and all you do, particularly your enduring focus on our industry mission: to partner in the efforts to keep our economy and our communities on solid ground, while protecting and enhancing the safety and soundness of our financial fabric for all.  

In my time at NYBA, I have come to know that we work best when we work together to face such challenges. For each, the strength of all.  As an industry and Association, we have weathered many storms throughout our 126 year history, and we've done so by viewing these challenges as opportunities to learn, to grow and to serve. So too today. In that vein, and to guide our path forward, I'm focused on three guiding principles in positioning our Association for the future: 

  • Renewing our mission as the State’s preeminent provider of legislative and regulatory services to a unified banking industry, as we take on economic, social and equity challenges;
  • Reimagining what our Association can do to provide the excellence and expertise you have come to expect from NYBA in a post-COVID world; and 
  • Rebuilding for a strong and innovative future, not only for New York banks, but also for our beloved New York communities.

There may be new leadership at NYBA, but our core focus remains ever the same: championing this industry, fostering success for our members and helping our communities thrive. For that purpose, I will be embarking on a listening tour over the next several weeks, utilizing virtual meet and greets, membership wide surveys and stakeholder focus groups, in order to effectively partner with you as we write this next chapter together.  

I look forward to these conversations because they will inform our planning for 2021 and far beyond. Thank you for your unwavering support of our Association – we will continue to strive to earn it in all that we do.

Clare Cusack
President & CEO
New York Bankers Association



New York, NY – (October 27, 2020) – The New York Bankers Association announced today that General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Clare M. Cusack will become the first woman to serve as President and CEO of NYBA, effective December 1, 2020, succeeding Michael P. Smith, who is retiring after leading the Association for over four decades. Cusack's appointment by NYBA’s Board of Directors follows a planned leadership transition after Smith announced plans last year to retire.

Cusack has served as General Counsel and COO of NYBA since August 2018, overseeing NYBA's legal matters and supporting each of the Association's divisions and areas, including government relations, professional development, profit solutions, major industry events and legal and regulatory strategy. She joined NYBA in 2013 as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. Prior to her work with the Association, she practiced as an attorney with the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, and earlier worked as an aide to the New York State Assembly majority. Cusack earned her juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A.  in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.

Smith has served as President and CEO of NYBA since 1989, providing dynamic leadership throughout times of industry turbulence and stability. He joined NYBA in 1975 as Secretary of the Federal Government Relations Committee after serving on the staff of U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney of Connecticut.

Commenting on the leadership transition, NYBA Chairman Greg Braca praised Smith's leadership and service and said NYBA is well positioned for the future with Cusack leading the Association.

“For more than four decades, Mike has worked tirelessly for the benefit of our great industry in New York, using his considerable political skill to guide us through times of crisis and times of good fortune. On behalf of the more than 100 members of the New York Bankers Association, I thank Mike for his unwavering dedication and commitment to our industry. We offer our congratulations on his well-earned retirement, which caps a career of meaningful achievements for banking,” said Braca, President and CEO of TD Bank, N.A. "At the same time, we believe NYBA will continue to excel and evolve its longstanding mission under Clare's dynamic leadership and address the many opportunities and challenges facing the banking industry as a unifying advocate for our members."

Commenting on his retirement and Cusack's appointment, Smith said: “It has been my honor to have served NYBA and the industry for the past 45 years. I came to the Association as a 27-year-old, fresh from my Capitol Hill job. And in that time, I have had the privilege of working with legends of both banking and politics in both Albany and Washington. It has been a fascinating journey, marked with many victories and many challenges – such as the one we are in right now. I am confident that Clare will bring thoughtful leadership and keen strategic expertise to her new role, so that NYBA is assured of continuing its long-held reputation for excellence.”

Cusack said: “I am excited to continue working with the banking and government leaders of New York, particularly during this challenging time when we embrace the common goal of rebuilding our communities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. I am honored by the confidence NYBA’s Board has shown in me, and I thank Mike for his years of mentorship and guidance.” 

About the New York Bankers Association

Since 1894, it has been the New York Bankers Association’s primary mission to be the State’s preeminent provider of legislative and regulatory services to a unified banking industry.  Over the years, the Association’s mission has grown to include educational programs, public relations, political action and member services geared to enhance the profitability and stature of New York ’s banking industry.  Today, NYBA is comprised of the smaller community, mid-size regional, and large banks across every region of New York State. Together NYBA members employ nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, safeguard $2 trillion in deposits, and extend nearly $70 billion in home and small business loans.


Contact:  Karen Armstrong:, (646) 943-0388