Most Powerful Women in Banking: Kelly Coffey, City National Bank

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City National Bank has been on a growth tear since Kelly Coffey joined as chief executive last year.

Not only has she opened offices in some of the country’s largest metro areas — and staffed them with newly hired teams — she has worked to back up its expanded physical presence with a more robust virtual one.

Her goal is a tech-fueled transformation that allows the Los Angeles-based bank — long known for serving the entertainment industry — to be more of a digitally enabled relationship bank. Over the past year it premiered a new mobile app, strengthened its treasury services capabilities and streamlined the process for onboarding new clients.

The bank, a unit of Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada, also expanded its niche offerings through fintech acquisitions. It bought FilmTrack, which offers cloud-based intellectual property rights management, in August 2019. And it finished integrating Exactuals, a payments platform it bought in August 2018 to allow its clients to track and manage royalties. The moves helped sustain City National’s growth, which continued at a rapid pace last year even in the face of falling interest rates. Assets had jumped to $71.5 billion as of June 30, up from $55 billion a year earlier.

Coffey is tending to the culture at City National as well, reinforcing its emphasis on customers, colleagues and communities. New programs include one called Tell Kelly, which she introduced to foster transparency shortly after she arrived at City National in February 2019. It is an idea she brought from her previous role as the CEO of JPMorgan Chase’s U.S. private bank.

The program is essentially an invitation to employees to email her directly if they want to share any ideas for growth, flag a problem or suggest a way to improve client relationships. “During the pandemic, this has allowed me to communicate with colleagues directly and show them that the leadership team is here for them,” Coffey said.

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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Private banks C-suite Kelly Coffey City National Bank Women in Banking