Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 12, Cape Cod Five Cents' Dorothy Savarese

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President and CEO, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank

Dorothy Savarese wants her employees to think creatively.

In July, the CEO of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, introduced a company-wide innovation contest to facilitate the sharing of fresh ideas within the institution. The effort is part of her goal to encourage experimentation with new and emerging technologies.

Employees can submit ideas periodically and have them reviewed by the relevant committees inside the bank, whether it’s a new customer product or change to the IT infrastructure. The winning idea will be made part of the bank’s monthly priorities and the operations group will be asked to implement it.

While some community banks are wary of pushing the envelope, Savarese argues even smaller institutions — Cape Cod Five has roughly $3 billion of assets — can’t be complacent.

“We’re always looking ahead and knowing that change is critically important,” she said.

Last year, the bank made inroads on process automation, freeing up employees from repetitive work such as account maintenance. It is expected to soon deploy a similar feature for accounts payable, which executives hope will give the bank better visibility into customers’ financial data.

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Additionally, the bank is working on a pilot project that leverages data and artificial intelligence to better interpret customers’ behaviors and needs.

“We want to increase customer engagement with some of our cognitive insights,” Savarese said. “We’re evaluating cognitive engagement modalities like robo-advisers and chatbots.”

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