During her 23 years in the payments industry, Lynn Heitman has seen a lot of change, but nothing like what has occurred since the beginning of 2009.
Heitman heads U.S. Bank's branded credit and debit card businesses and one of her initial challenges in the face of industry shifts was to understand the consumers' position. To gain insight, Heitman worked on teams within the bank that focused on the customers' viewpoint. She then conveyed that perspective to her own team so they could develop ways to adapt to regulatory changes while satisfying customers and remaining profitable. "I encourage my team or any I'm engaged with to embrace change and look for the learning opportunities," she says. "Take the challenge you've been given and turn it into something."
Manifesting that philosophy, her team introduced tools to help customers better manage their money, including a program that encourages saving. It also expanded the payments rewards program to give customers more incentives to deepen their relationship with the bank.
Outside of the bank, Heitman is deeply committed to helping lower the cost of financial services for those outside of the banking mainsteam. As part of her involvement with the Center for Financial Services Innovation, Heitman traveled to South Africa two years ago to get ideas about how to better serve unbanked consumers in the U.S."South Africa has a huge task of pulling individuals into formal financial services," says Heitman. "Our objective was to learn from the South Africans-not the other way around."