Young Blood: Fifteen-year-old Natalie Clarke wants to know what Bank of America doing to raise its share price. The ninth grader, who owns 5,000 B of A shares given to her when she was a baby, attended her third annual meeting this week. "You and I are both looking at some pretty bad numbers," she said to chief executive Brian Moynihan at the meeting. Clarke said she has begun considering whether her shares could help her pay for college. In past meetings she has also raised concerns over why her father was laid off from the bank (he has since been rehired) and how women's salaries at the company compared with men's.
Fintech and the Fed: One of the goals of the Federal Reserve is to foster innovation that would create better outcomes for consumers – and its interest in the fintech industry aligns with that goal – said Tracy Basinger, group vice president for the San Francisco Fed's banking supervision and regulation division. "As a general rule, we don't regulate these companies, but the fact of the matter is that they're changing the dynamics of the marketplace," Basinger said of fintech startups. "Almost every one of these companies has a bank partner at some stage of the process. And since we regulate those banks, it's equally important that we understand what those partnerships look like." Basinger made the comments in an interview about why the growing fintech industry is of great importance to the Fed.
The Eyes Have It: Wells Fargo plans to roll out eyeprint verification for corporate customers this quarter, using identification software from EyeVerify. Users take a photo looking directly into a smartphone, and the Eyeprint ID software matches veins and other details to a stored template. It is meant to be simple to use, Secil Watson, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's wholesale Internet services, told the WSJ. "Customers wanted to have as discrete an experience as possible so as not to be recognized by others as accessing a bank account." However, she added that until biometrics are more widely integrated across mobile devices as well as desktop and laptop computers, Wells will continue offering its customers the option to enter a typed password.
Culture Imperative: Two years ago Union Center National Bank in New Jersey bought ConnectOne Bank, but opted to adopt the branding and the culture of the smaller bank that it acquired. Maria Fusca Gendelman, senior vice president and chief culture and experience officer of what is now called ConnectOne, oversaw that major organizational overhaul and learned this: Do not let culture initiatives take a backseat. "The importance of culture has often been overlooked in our industry," but it needs to be a critical consideration for banks at every stage in their growth, she said. "Falling into the trap of traditionalism won't cut it anymore. Today's banks need to be more innovative, more creative and more willing to think outside the box to define and differentiate themselves."
Career Advice, Woman to Woman: Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Carla Harris often says the important decisions about your career will be made when you're not in the room. In this interview, Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street executive turned fintech entrepreneur, referenced that lesson as one that "will stay with me for the rest of my career." Citing the time she was let go at Bank of America as an example of when she needed others to fight for her at work, Krawcheck said, "You need to form relationships." That does not necessarily mean making friends, she added. "It's so people respect you. Not so that they like you, but that they believe that helping you will make them successful. It's giving, which we women are so good at." Krawcheck also said women often keep trying to make bad situations better when they should just give up. "Women sometimes are too reluctant to quit. We think, 'If I could just communicate with my boss better.' Well, no, he's a male chauvinist pig."
Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, has announced she will leave her post at the agency next month. She has not said what her next move is, but she is rumored to be joining HSBC in a senior global financial-crime fighting role. (For Throwback Thursday, check out our story about the crackdown on Bank Secrecy Act compliance under Shasky Calvery.)
Penn Community Bank in Doylestown, Pa., has hired Stephanie Austin as chief financial officer. She previously served as the CFO and treasurer for Continental Bank Holdings in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Blindsided: Kelly Ripa returned to Live with Kelly and Michael this week after abruptly taking time off upon learning that her co-star Michael Strahan will soon leave the show for Good Morning America. She became aware of the news only minutes before its public announcement. During her absence, ABC and Disney executives reportedly apologized to her for the handling of the situation. Upon her return, she made no apologies herself for taking time off, telling her audience, "I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right." To be clear, this was no diva move. Ripa used her position as a powerful woman in television to demand "communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace," NPR says. "Everyone has had that moment where you feel like you could have been given a heads-up, could have been given advance warning, could have been consulted, could have been given a minute to think before a situation exploded. Kelly Ripa has the ability to insist upon it, and she did."
Winning On and Off the Field: The San Francisco 49ers made it a requirement this week to include women in interviews for all full-time business operations positions. Hannah Gordon, the National Football League team's general counsel, noted that studies show having women on boards tends to result in better outcomes for their companies. She also said more inclusive hiring would help the 49ers better compete for talent. "What we're looking to do on the business side is really no different than what we do in the draft," she said. "You're looking to find the absolute best talent, and in order to do that, you have to make sure that you're removing your own unconscious biases." Whether other teams in the league follow suit remains to be seen.