All is not Wells: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that she supports a "thorough investigation" of what led to the Wells Fargo phony-accounts scandal and that further action could be taken against the company. During Yellen’s semiannual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questioned her about Wells at length, hammering on the idea that the board of directors did not perform its duty in overseeing the company. “I will say that the behavior that we saw was egregious and unacceptable and it is our job to find out what the root causes were to those failures,” Yellen said. “As I’ve agreed, we do have the power, if it proves appropriate, to remove directors.

Rebound: Visa Europe has offered Charlotte Hogg the role of chief executive less than four months after she resigned from the Bank of England over her failure to disclose a conflict of interest. It is not clear if the BOE or the Payment Systems Regulator need to formally approve Visa’s application to appoint Hogg, but there is unlikely to be any formal objection. At Visa, Hogg would head one of the most systemically important companies operating in the global payments industry. Parent company Visa Inc. paid more than $21 billion to acquire the European operation last year, handing huge windfalls to banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group, which were all shareholders in the payments network.

The new guy makes how much more?: Heritage Bank in Wood River, Neb., will pay Christine Schwieger $30,598, following a federal court judgement in a pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The bank is also required to implement policy changes to prevent future discrimination. Schwieger joined Heritage in 2010. Between then and 2013, the bank had been paying her and another woman in the same position the same base salary, $30,000. In 2014, the other woman quit and was replaced by a man, who was paid $40,000, according to the complaint. As part of the judgment and court order, the bank is also required to conduct annual anti-discrimination training and file semiannual reports with the EEOC. “We encourage employees who believe that they are paid less than members of the opposite sex for equal work to do as Ms. Schwieger did and file a complaint with the EEOC,” said Andrea Baran, an EEOC regional attorney.

Adobe Stock

Teaching men how to talk to women: UBS is teaching staff at its wealth management business how to talk to women about money as part of its “Unique” program, which aims to generate “tens of billions” of dollars in revenue over the next five years by increasing the number of female clients. Advisers are given “very pragmatic talking points” that center around goals instead of financial products, as a way to improve the quality of conversations with women, according to managing director Mara Harvey. “The majority of our client advisers are male so ... we need to get every single male client adviser much more comfortable asking questions to the women,” she said. UBS’ wealth management business is the world's largest with $2.3 trillion in invested assets.

Priorities, people: Former U.K. education secretary Nicky Morgan will be the next chair of the Treasury Select Committee and the first woman to chair it. Despite having no previous jobs in financial services, she was the favorite for the position due to her ministerial experience and high public profile. Morgan said she is “keen to pursue topics such as the lack of gender diversity in financial services.” In addition to scrutinizing senior figures from the financial services industry, the committee monitors the government and the Bank of England, which has a “striking” lack of women in the senior ranks. (That’s according to the BOE’s own Mark Carney, who made the observation when he became governor in 2013. Carney pledged at the time to improve gender diversity, but the opposite is happening, with four senior women leaving this year.). Other issues Morgan wants to take on include tax policy, household debt, public spending decisions, skills funding, the National Infrastructure Plan, childcare funding and income inequality.

Talent planning to change the status quo: The U.K. Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, which aims to improve diversity in the industry, has 25 new supporters, including Citi and KPMG. Of the 141 companies that have signed on, over a quarter have published diversity targets and committed to appointing women to half of their senior roles. Unconscious bias training, succession planning and analysis of hiring practices are some of the specific actions that the companies are taking to achieve their goals. "I’m delighted to see such strong progress being made by the financial services sector,” said Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and a Women in Finance champion.

The juggling act: Morgan Stanley’s chief digital officer, Naureen Hassan, shared a glimpse of how she balances family responsibilities with being a C-level executive at a large financial firm, when she was speaking at our InVest conference this week. “I'm a mom with two kids, and I'm often on the road or in a meeting, and I often get asked, ‘How do you do this all?’” she said. “The answer, frankly, is my phone. My groceries come off Instacart, the diapers come off an Amazon subscribe and save box, I buy the kids' birthday presents online while I'm on a Delta flight. This is how we manage our lives today.” Look for an upcoming story about Morgan Stanley’s approach to technology by American Banker’s editor-at-large Penny Crosman.

Role call

WSFS Financial in Wilmington, Del., announced Thursday that it promoted Christine Davis to chief auditor. She also will assume a lead management role for the audit committee of the board of directors at the $7 billion-asset company.

Christine Davis, of WSFS
Christine Davis

Hyflux chairman and group chief executive Olivia Lum has joined the global advisory board for UBS Wealth Management as part of its five-year plan to better serve women.

Beyond banking

Art of negotiating: Zinc Chief Executive Stacey Epstein has learned something about closing the gender gap. In hiring women to her team, Epstein noticed that most women haven't mastered the art of negotiation. She pointed out that there aren't protections in the system against that. “Among all the hires that I’ve made at my last three companies, literally every man I‘ve negotiated with asked for more money, more stock, or both – 100% of the time,” Epstein said. “I’d estimate that women ask for more only 10% of the time.” Employers aren’t going to volunteer extra money, she said. “If a potential hire — typically a woman — accepts what I deem to be a reasonable offer ‘as is,’ I have no incentive to offer more. But if the next person asks for an extra 10% as a condition of taking the role, he’s probably going to get it. I actually plan for that scenario. Now, suddenly I’m paying a man more than a woman to do the same job.” In an ideal world, it’s up to the hiring company to fix that, by mandating equal pay for equal roles and not changing offers based on one’s negotiation skills. Until that day comes, however, women can help even the playing field for themselves by mastering the art of negotiation.

What sexy shoulders you have: While speaking on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., took the opportunity to comment on the recent move to enforce a dress code barring sleeveless attire in certain parts of Capitol Hill. "I want to point out, I'm standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes,” McSally said.

Lots of love for Andy Murray: The way a reporter asked Andy Murray a question at Wimbledon on Wednesday prompted a quick correction from him — a brief exchange that is getting a lot of attention in social media. Murray immediately interrupted the reporter who referred to Sam Querry as "the first U.S. player to reach a major semi-final since 2009," to point out that Querry was merely the first “male player” to do so. Um, yeah. Watch what happened here. Among those who praised Murray for refusing to allow casual sexism was his mom, Judy, who tweeted: “That’s my boy.”


Hey, bankers, have you taken this quick survey from the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media yet? Please do! We need your input and participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card and two free passes to an upcoming American Banker conference.

BankThink submission guidelines

Want to contribute to BankThink, American Banker's platform for informed opinion about the ideas, trends and events reshaping financial services? View our detailed submission criteria and instructions.