The following is one of six profiles on bankers who've raised the act of community engagement to an art form. To see the others, click here.
RBS Citizens/Citizens Bank
President and CEO for Del., N.J., N.Y., Pa.
EDUCATION: B.A., LaSalle University; MBA, Drexel
FIRST BANKING JOB: First Pennsylvania Bank, internal audit
CURRENT BOARD SERVICE: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (chairman), Manufacturing Task Force (co-chair), LaSalle University (trustee), Franklin Institute, Wistar Institute
THOUGHTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA'S ROLE IN BANKING: "The trick is to use technology in a way that is natural and that makes sense for you and your customers."
Citizens Bank may be based in Providence, R.I., and owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, but it has some very solid ties to the city of Philadelphia. So does its top executive in the mid-Atlantic region, Daniel Fitzpatrick, who was born in the City of Brotherly Love and grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in the Northeast section of town.
Fitzpatrick got his B.A. in business administration from LaSalle University and an MBA from Drexel University, both Philadelphia institutions. His first job in banking was there, as is his current job, as well as every job he's had in between.
"It really has been very rewarding," says Fitzpatrick, a former accountant who came into banking through the internal audit department at First Pennsylvania Bank, and later landed in a management training program that steered him into corporate banking.
Fitzpatrick joined Citizens five and a half years ago from Bank of America, where he was president for Pennsylvania. The switch provided a big perk for the Philadelphia sports fan: Citizens has a 25-year, $95 million partnership agreement with the Phillies, who play their home games at Citizens Bank Park. The relationship has yielded plenty of opportunities to get involved in the team's charity work.
Fitzpatrick's role at the bank, and his interest in local affairs, also keeps him connected to a vital piece of the Philadelphia economy: manufacturing. In January, Mayor Michael Nutter appointed Fitzpatrick to co-chair a task force to bring more manufacturing jobs to the city. Fitzpatrick also has devoted time to the issue through his work with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, where he became chairman last October.
The Chamber "has been doing a lot of work to help lead our local economic recovery," Fitzpatrick says. "Workforce development programs are among our most important and impactful efforts. The manufacturing segment in Philadelphia is growing really rapidly. These companies are creating a lot of good jobs, so there is a tremendous opportunity for people to benefit if they can get the right training and develop the right skills."
The Chamber work also has given Fitzpatrick an opportunity to advocate for education funding. The city's schools "are facing some really difficult challenges," and the Chamber can provide constructive support without being directly involved in the politics, he says.
Fitzpatrick also is a trustee of LaSalle University and serves on the boards of the Franklin Institute, a local science museum, and the Wistar Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research center.
Fitzpatrick, 49, say he is able to balance his duties at the bank and his civic responsibilities through careful planning, noting that Chamber meetings start at 7 a.m. and end at 9 a.m. on the dot to accommodate board members' work schedules. What can't be done in that time gets finished on weekends.
Although managing relationships has been made easier by technology, Fitzpatrick says it's no substitute for more traditional means. "Clearly social media is becoming an increasingly important part of the way people communicate with each other. This is still a relationship business, though. The trick is to use technology in a way that is natural and that makes sense for you and your customers," he says.
"At the end of the day, the strength of your relationships with your customers and with others is based on the actions you take, on behalf of your customers and as someone who is trying to make a positive contribution to the community."