Reputation repair: Wells Fargo’s chief marketing officer Jamie Moldafsky says comments about the bank made in social media are akin to “holding up a mirror to ourselves,” providing immediate feedback about the bank's products and its efforts to rehab its image. “For our company right now, it is critical,” she told American Banker at the Collision conference in New Orleans. “We read the comments voraciously… there is a full range of responses from our customers and all of them are important.” She also shared how the bank is trying to use data to determine customers’ needs rather than just push products.

Can social media humanize big banks? The rise of social media emerged right around the time Jill Castilla, chief executive of Citizens Bank of Edmond, arrived to turn the bank around and she has harnessed social media for customer engagement ever since. “We didn’t have a marketing department; we had very little money… [it] seemed like an accessible way we could get feedback,” she said. She said the bank’s involvement on social media has helped shape Citizens’ brand, business and community. In many cases, however, larger banks aren't capitalizing on the opportunity as much. “Big banks use social more for problem management and financial literacy tools. But it really should be a tool to make people feel connected to the people that are running these big banks rather than just being someone that can respond to a question. Big banks are missing out on being able to humanize institutions that can often be villainized.”

Not one of the guys: Being a woman working in a man’s world is an opportunity, says Lori Beer, JPMorgan’s investment bank CIO. But she doesn’t recommend trying to fit in. “My advice would be to stop trying to be like one of the guys,” Beer said. “I spent years being the only woman on predominantly male technology teams, but the best thing you can do as a woman in technology is to stay focused on the value you can bring as an individual.” Beer also talked about JPM’s 10,000-person tech team, the culture inside its technology hubs and the frenemy relationship between legacy financial firms and startups.

Like mother like daughter: U.S. Bank's Jodi Richard always knew she would be a banker. Her mother, a former manager at a regional bank, served as a role model and even made the suggestion that she take an interview with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where she ended up working her first job out of college. Richard is now the chief operational risk officer for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, where she oversees the bank’s entire operational risk department. “All of my foundational learning about regulation and even how a bank’s balance sheet works and how it operates, I learned from the OCC,” Richard says. “I always say that being a bank examiner made me a better banker because I felt like I understood what their mission and goals were. Being a banker and then going back to the OCC also made me a better examiner because, having sat in the other chair, I knew it wasn’t as easy as you think it might be.” Richard also talked about how the bank tackles operational risk and the extent to which its risk disciplines are integrated into the business.

Tough on bank misconduct: It’s been a little over a year since Maria Vullo joined the New York State Department of Financial Services as acting superintendent, before being confirmed by the state legislature in June. So far, she’s finalized a wide-ranging cybersecurity rule and levied $1 billion in penalties against several major foreign banks for anti-money laundering violations — issues she has said and shown she takes seriously. Some thought she would take a softer stance than her predecessor, Ben Lawsky, who maintained a much higher profile in the media during his tenure than Vullo seems to care for. “I’m both a regulator and a law enforcement agency, and where you see an institution that just does not have systems to prevent money laundering transactions, terrorist transactions, you can’t turn your eye from that — that’s serious conduct,” she said. “We want to prevent bad transactions and we want to prevent cyberattacks. And you, top management, are responsible.”

Maria T. Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services
Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Fed’s two cents: The Federal Reserve wants to give input on future rules governing technology companies that want to move into consumer lending markets, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said. Under the OCC’s fintech charter, tech companies can offer consumers loans directly without having to obtain a banking license. Fintech companies have welcomed the idea, but state regulators and smaller banks have been concerned. Add the Fed to the list, as it waits on policymakers to determine whether fintech companies can tap the Fed for the services that traditional banks enjoy. "The OCC's proposal raises interpretive and policy issues for the Federal Reserve regarding whether charter recipients would become Federal Reserve members or have access to Federal Reserve accounts and services," Brainard said. Last week the Conference of State Banking Supervisors filed a lawsuit against the OCC, arguing it lacks the legal power to create a fintech charter.

No turning back? The House Financial Services Committee began debate Tuesday on a sweeping regulatory reform bill. It’s expected to pass on party lines, but few expect it to stand a chance in the Senate. “The bill destroys Wall Street reform, guts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and returns us to the financial system that allowed risky and predatory Wall Street practices and products to crash our economy,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, the lead Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., called the House GOP bill a "middle finger to consumers, regulators, investors and the market.”

Beyond banking

Goals: Rockwell Automation, a Milwaukee-based industrial automation and software company, has been recruiting more women and people of color over the past decade — and retaining them. The current and former CEOs have made diversity a priority and part of managers’ performance reviews. “Now if you want to be promoted, you need to be engaged in something related to diversity and inclusion, and you can’t fake it,” said Stephanie de Garay, who joined Rockwell in 1996. As a result, Rockwell is recruiting and retaining more women and minority engineers and managers at a time when competition for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is tough and Silicon Valley execs say they can’t find enough minorities with that expertise. Last year, 25% of managers and 25% of senior leaders who report directly to the CEO were women, up from 11% in 2008. Rockwell coaches white men to understand and change attitudes and behaviors that make women and minorities feel unwelcome and prevent them from advancing.

Women in office: “She Inspires” is a New York art exhibit inspired by women who have left their mark on history. It aims to raise funds for an organization that encourages women to run for office. “Historically speaking, women’s history has often been marginalized or sectioned off into its own category of ‘women’s studies,’ as if it is not a ‘real’ part of the history of the world,” said curator Indira Cesarine. “I wanted ‘She Inspires’ to include art that has a strong visual impact and also that could pique the curiosity of the viewer to learn more about the subjects of the works.” The show includes portraits of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Nina Simone, Queen Elizabeth II and contemporary icons like Michelle Obama and Alicia Keys, among other historical figures. It opened this week at the Untitled Space.

American Banker is now accepting nominations for its rankings of the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance and the Top Teams in Banking. You can find the applications here.

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