Most Powerful Women in Banking: Diane Morais, Ally Financial

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President, Consumer and Commercial Banking Products, Ally Bank

Since helping launch Ally Bank in 2009, Diane Morais has been a driving force for innovation. Aptly, the word itself was part of her first title at the digital-only bank, where she started as deposits and product innovation executive.

Now, more than a decade later, with the bank having surpassed $100 billion in retail deposits after a breakout year in 2019, she continues to be a disruptor for good.

Morais's purview is broad, encompassing deposits, mortgage, corporate finance, brokerage and wealth management. She also heads digital-transformation strategy and customer-care operations, and in 2019 she was put in charge of personal lending after the acquisition of Health Credit Services.

One of her innovation success stories, which took inspiration from Stanford University’s school of design, was the launch of an internal concept-testing studio. Steeped in intensive customer research and operating under short development cycles — referred to as “rapid prototyping” — the studio’s small team works to solve a revolving set of customer problems using so-called human-centered design.

The initiative, which kicked off in 2018, led to the introduction of new savings tools that operate like “digital envelopes” designed to eliminate the mental math of saving for multiple priorities. One feature, Surprise Savings, uses an algorithm to analyze a customer’s cash flow, spending patterns and account balances to ferret out “safe to save” funds that can be moved automatically into savings.

The novel coronavirus itself has spurred even more innovation, such as virtual mortgage closings and remote training for new hires.

“There are so many examples of innovation that shattered our conventional wisdom,” Morais said. “The changes we’ve made will pay dividends well into the future.”

For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.

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Consumer banking Commercial banking Ally Financial Diane Morais Women in Banking