Most Powerful Women in Finance: Margaret Keane, Synchrony Financial

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It's been a year of expansion for Synchrony Financial and its chief executive, Margaret Keane, as the co-branded credit card lender announced more than 30 partnerships with a wide range of merchants, including, most notably, Verizon.

The Verizon Visa Card, the telecommunications giant's first credit card, was launched in June and is available exclusively to Verizon Wireless customers. Among the key selling points: Users receive discounts on their monthly wireless bills if they pay with the card and can redeem rewards points for the purchase of new phones and other accessories from Verizon. Synchrony will also be the lender behind Venmo's first credit card, which is expected to roll out later this year.

Along with spearheading new partnerships, Keane is also driving Synchrony's digital transformation. Almost half of the company's credit applications now originate online or via mobile sources, and losses from fraud have been markedly reduced thanks to new enterprisewide credit platform that combines artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to improve underwriting.

Under Keane, Synchrony has also earned a reputation as one of the country's best employers and corporate citizens. Synchrony was named one of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2020, and placed in the top 10% of companies on the Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index. Programs it put in place to help support customers, communities and employees during the COVID-19 outbreak also earned Synchrony the top ranking among financial firms.

In June, Synchrony committed $5 million in grants to help small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, recover from the pandemic. It recently pledged a $1 million donation to the World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit run by the celebrity chef José Andrés, for purchases made at restaurants using a Synchrony card.

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Payment cards Credit cards Consumer banking Synchrony Margaret Keane Women in Banking