Most Powerful Women in Banking: Jill Castilla, Citizens Bank of Edmond

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President and CEO

Jill Castilla is one of the few bank chief executives with a Twitter following of customers and NBA owners.

As the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the U.S. economy earlier this year and small businesses scrambled to find help, Castilla, the CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma, took to the social media site to keep customers informed. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban began directing his followers to Castilla.

Soon, the two would partner on multiple fronts. A plan Cuban had been trumpeting since the start of the pandemic to allow business owners to overdraft their banking accounts without paying fees was readily embraced by Castilla, and over the next three months her $317 million-asset bank collected no overdraft fees from its business customers. Then, after hearing from people desperate to get through the labyrinth of the Paycheck Protection Program, Castilla and Cuban partnered to build a website borrowers could use to prepare applications for loan forgiveness.

So far, “hundreds of thousands” of small businesses have accessed the site, Castilla said. But she’s still tweeting, offering more ideas — sometimes in GIF form — to help small businesses in any way she can.

Castilla is also tackling issues of economic inequality that have been at the heart of protests across the country. She told of a recent presentation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where research showed that Black women are more likely to own businesses than their male peers but face higher barriers to credit. So she has made recruiting Black women to her a bank a priority.

“It’s important to be representative of our community,” she said. “We take this into consideration when we are hiring the best talent and in our lending strategy to support minority-owned businesses and underserved communities.”

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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