Most Powerful Women in Banking: Karen Larrimer, PNC Financial Services Group
Head of Retail Banking and Chief Customer Officer
When talk turned to streamlining the array of products that had accumulated under the umbrella of PNC Financial Services Group, executives usually found other priorities to pursue.
Karen Larrimer decided it was time to act. “I have had a mantra with my team for a couple of years now,” said Larrimer, PNC’s head of retail banking and chief customer officer. “Our goal is to make banking easier.”
So last year, she marshaled support from PNC’s board and executive team and made product simplification a priority. Through mergers and acquisitions, the company had piled on an array of products with differing features. Some were no longer sold but had been grandfathered in.
There were substantial upfront costs, but Larrimer focused attention on the long-term benefits. They included reducing operational risk, as well as making life easier for customers and employees, who would need less training. The simpler structure also helped prepare PNC for future acquisitions.
Apart from making products simpler, Larrimer also is making them more accessible as the executive sponsor of an employee resource group that advocates for customers and employees with disabilities. The role is an outgrowth of her work with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, a nonprofit whose mission is to help people with disabilities find jobs.
Last year, she and her team spent a day navigating PNC’s website from the perspective of people with varying levels of visual impairment. “It isn’t until you have those experiences that you realize the complicated lives that some people lead.”
Larrimer is making her mark in the community as well. She led a capital campaign that raised nearly $19 million for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and was recently elected chair of the museum’s board.
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.