Role models: For the first time, both the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America have female chairs — Dorothy Savarese, CEO of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank in Harwich Port, Mass., and role at the American Bankers Association for roughly three months, while Rebeca Romero Rainey, CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos in N.M., respectively. Their simultaneous leadership comes at a time when banking faces multiple challenges and could stand to innovate by increasing diversity. It's also a time when the conversation about more diverse leadership is growing and getting louder. "Whenever younger women see our generation in those leadership roles it gives them great hope that the glass ceiling is broken and we're going to new heights," said Mary Lynn Lenz, president and CEO of Foothills Bank. "It saddens me that we don't have more women in those prominent positions, but at least we're setting a precedent." Patti Husic, president and CEO at Centric Bank, agreed it "sends a powerful message" — one Geena Davis spoke about at the banquet for American Banker's Most Powerful Women last year: if she can see it, she can be it. Rainey herself said she was inspired by Terry Jorde, the ICBA's first female chairman. "Early in my career there weren't as many women in the C-suite," Jorde said. "Now we take it for granted that women can — and should — have a place in the executive offices. We elevate women where there is talent."
Stay woke: It's easier to make it in the business world if you're a straight, white man, says Barclays CEO Jes Staley, and it's up to senior executive leaders to try to level the playing field. "You make Barclays a place where a single, working mother can thrive and leave on a Tuesday at 1pm with no sense of guilt at all — that woman will stay," he said. "You make Barclays a place where a gay man can feel as comfortable at 4pm on a Thursday as with his friends on a weekend — that individual is going to stay. There is a growing recognition that corporations have to be in tune with the world around them." Staley also said embracing diversity is "the most effective vehicle I have found to hire and retain staff" and that if a company can ensure leaders at the top of organizations embrace "the right values, it permeates with incredible speed throughout the organization."
Grooming female leaders of tomorrow: Canada's major banks are readying their female leaders for their top posts, says Bill Downe, chief executive of Bank of Montreal and the country's longest-serving bank CEO. "There are five large Canadian banks," he said. "I think it's inevitable… There are women who are in development to be candidates to be CEO. There are men who are also being groomed but we're building depth of bench that has gender balance." No major Canadian bank has ever had a female CEO. For that matter, the largest U.S. banks haven't either. …
Bad bank-data deals: Big banks increasingly are developing application programming interfaces to make their customers' data available to third parties. But discrete deals between banks and third parties — like JPMorgan Chase's deal with Intuit, or Wells Fargo's with accounting software provider Xero — would be a bad outcome for consumers and the industry as a whole, according to Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of Center for Financial Services Innovation, and Beth Brockland, a CFSI managing director. Consumers benefit from having a choice of financial providers — including the apps they use to manage their financial lives — but that choice becomes limited when community banks, credit unions and other smaller institutions can't connect with digital tools like Mint or Digit. "We need a broader set of industrywide standards and best practices if we are to arrive at solutions that support consumer choice and innovation," they said.
Risky business: A study by Australia's Sydney Morning Herald disputes the Lehman Sisters theory, finding instead that just increasing female staff in banks is unlikely to change the way risk is managed. The Lehman Sisters theory emerged in 2015 when IMF director Christine Lagarde said "female leadership is more inclusive and probably more risk-averse. What would have happened if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters?" — implying the financial crisis could have been averted if more women served senior management. The Herald asked bank employees to self-report their risk management behavior and indicate the extent of their aversion, or lack thereof, to risk. The survey shed light on women outside the risk averse female stereotype that are just as risk tolerant as their male counterparts — those are the women who tend to reach the management roles where risk management decisions are made.
Choose love: Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia offered advice at the 2017 Women in Finance Summit last week on how to handle unfeminist men: "You'll find that as you have more children, your love doesn't lessen, it multiplies and perhaps this is how we should handle men wary of equality."
George Soros has tapped Dawn Fitzpatrick, a senior executive at UBS Asset Management, to run his $25 billion family office as chief investment officer. Fitzpatrick, a 25-year veteran of UBS, was named one of our Most Powerful Women in Finance in 2015 and 2016.
Citi has named Christina Mohr vice chairman of the bank to develop C-suite relationships, after more than 20 years serving the mergers and acquisitions business, most recently as a managing director.
BankMobile, the digital-only neobank aimed at millennials and owned by Customers Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pa., gave Luvleen Sidhu, chief strategy officer, the added title of president.
Tracey McDermott, the former acting head of the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, is joining Standard Chartered as head of corporate, public and regulatory affairs.
Key Bank has made Renee Murdock its corporate responsibility officer for the Hudson Valley/Metro NY market. She previously served in a similar role for First Niagara Bank in the Eastern Pennsylvania market.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation has promoted Ann Shuman, a managing director and deputy general counsel, to general counsel.
In case you missed it
Double duty: The Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index has doubled. Bloomberg recognized 52 firms last week, up from the 26 when the benchmark debuted last year. The index measures the organizations' commitment to building gender-equal workplaces. This year's constituents have an average of 24.2% female representation on boards; the percentage of female executives at member firms increased by 25.2% between fiscal years 2014 and 2015; 73% require a gender-diverse slate of candidates for management roles; 75% provide returnship programs for women. Check out the list here.
Bringing mothers back: Speaking of returnships, a group of U.K. members of Parliament is urging the government and employers to bring more mid-career women back into the workplace through returnships — paid training schemes for once senior leaders at work who have taken significant family leave. The program typically lasts three or six months and aims to improve women's technology skills and confidence and generally get them reacclimatized to the corporate world, with the help of a mentor. The concept was introduced by Goldman Sachs in the U.S. in 2008; Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank brought it to the U.K. in 2014. "I realized I wanted to be part of a company again," said Ines Faden, a mother to a 12- and a 14-year-old who had a 20-year career in investment banking before stepping back for six years to look after her family. After a three-month returnship she has launched her second career as a deputy treasurer. "I missed office life, but a career gap is a mortal sin to have on your CV and I knew it would be difficult to find work."
Not what you did, but how: The White House announced the firing of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates two minutes after informing her it would take place, issuing a "scorched-earth condemnation" about her "betrayal" for not defending Trump's controversial executive order travel ban, the Washington Post reports. "All the hubbub then about Trump's decision to dismiss Yates on Monday night kind of misses the point," it wrote. "It's not that Yates was dismissed that's important and telling. It's how she was dismissed that matters." Read the full article here.
Why women leave: There's a growing population of Americans who don't have a job and aren't looking for one — a frustrating trend that received a lot of attention in the wake of the presidential election in November. Thus far, the narrative has focused on men in rural areas who've lost factory jobs. Women are part of the trend too, but they're leaving the workforce for a different reason: they're still the primary caregivers of their families, and when choosing between inflexible work conditions and taking care of family, they tend to choose the latter. "I think the only reason anyone is talking about missing male workers is because there's so many missing female workers," said Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan. "Male participation was declining for a very long time, and no one seemed to care about it because household incomes were rising because women's participation and hourly earnings were increasing."