Centric Financial is one of the few publicly traded banking companies with women in the chief executive and chief financial officer roles. Centric is also distinctive for its enviable growth and performance.
Those two facts are not purely coincidental, according to President and CEO Patricia "Patti" Husic, who points to Centric's success as further evidence that diversity gives companies a competitive advantage.
"Diversity of experience and gender diversity brings a diversity of thought to the table," Husic said. "If we all look the same or if we all think the same, then we will never explore different avenues."
Jobs always go to the most qualified person, but Husic said she makes sure that there are women among the candidates any time there is an opening. She and her team sometimes draw on their networks of contacts to bring in candidates. "You meet individuals along the way that you build trust with and you remember the ones who are the most qualified and talented," Husic said.
That's how Sandra Schultz became Centric's CFO in 2008. She and Husic had previously worked together at another institution.
Husic founded the Pennsylvania Bankers Association's Women in Banking Conference three years ago and her involvement in that event has allowed her to meet some of the most talented female bankers in the state, she said.
Among the bankers she has met through the conference is Michelle Light, whom Husic recruited to lead Centric's expansion into Bucks County in April 2015. Light's five-person commercial lending team — four of whom are women — generated $40 million in loan originations last year and made Centric's move into the suburban Philadelphia area profitable three months faster than expected.
Overall, Centric's net income jumped about 49% last year, to $1.8 million, while assets surged almost 20%, to $373 million.
Women make up roughly 60% of Centric's workforce, which is not so unusual in banking. It is typically in senior positions where the gender ratio starts to tip in favor of men.
But at Centric, three out of four of the corporate officers are women. An SNL Financial study earlier this year turned up only 13 listed U.S. banks with a female CEO and female CFO.
Women who want to be strong advocates for the banking industry should become involved in their communities, Husic said. One way Centric is doing this is through an initiative called Centric Connections. At quarterly lunch-and-learns, Centric provides a keynote speaker and networking opportunities to executive women, business owners and millennials. Each session is live-tweeted. "It's important to have your voice out there, to speak on behalf of the industry, on behalf of community banking, on behalf of small businesses," Husic said.
Headquarters: Harrisburg, Pa
2015 Financial highlights:
Assets: $373 million
Female representation among corporate officers: 75%
Female representation on operating committee: 67%
The Team: Andrea Ahern, Mary Anne Bayer, Stacy Beeler, Deborah Block, Vickie Broughton, Michelle Carrasquillo, Peggy Elder, Tania Fleming, Patricia Husic, Michele Light, Leslie Meck, Veronica Rodgers, Cheryl Sakalosky, Sandra Schultz, Gethen Wilson