Citi Looks to App Store Model: As the fintech industry has blossomed, a slice of banks' customers have shifted to the fintechs for certain financial services, such as managing their budget or consolidating loans. Now, the banks need to reel them back in. Heather Cox, chief executive of Citi Fintech, thinks she has figured out how to do it – she plans to "fintegrate" what the competition is doing. In other words, integrating the attractive elements of fintech into Citi. On her own smartphone she has Venmo, Square Cash, stock-gifting app Stockpile and apps of five traditional banks and a brokerage firm. She's currently overseeing an upgrade to Citi's banking app that will give customers access to the other fintech apps through their mobile sign-in. Cox, who was previously chief client experience, digital and marketing officer for Citi's global consumer bank, is one of American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking and was the 2015 Digital Banker of the Year.
Just a Little Too Late: "Is a woman making it onto the U.S. currency just as disruptive technologies are making cash obsolete?" asks Carol Juel, chief information officer at Synchrony Financial, referring to Treasury's plan to put abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Juel uses Tubman's appearance as a proxy for the disconnect between the statistics that show the potential women have to help transform society and commerce through STEM-related fields and the real-life situation, such as the dismal number of women running companies. It's time to "put women where we need them – at the forefront of technology-driven disruption," Juel says. The World Economic Forum has estimated it will take about 80 years to achieve gender parity in the workplace. Juel is one of PaymentsSource's Most Powerful Women in Payments this year.
The Ties That Bind: Though hit hard by the financial crisis, Synovus Financial now has risen to become one of banking's most reputable brands. Liz Dukes Wolverton, Synovus' chief strategy officer, says the company's pain perhaps lasted longer than others because it chose to be patient with delinquent borrowers who made an effort to pay their debts. The bank had $3 billion of losses over three years, but as real estate values rebounded, Synovus was able to move assets off its books at higher prices – restoring its health and its good name. Wolverton credits the strong ties it built with its customers and the community involvement of its executives with helping fuel the bank's rebound. "There was a lot written, pretty accurately, about our financial condition," Wolverton said. "If we didn't have that local connectivity and presence in the community, it would have been very easy for a lot of people to walk away from Synovus."
What Would Fintechs Do Post-Brexit?: London has emerged as a mecca for fintech companies in the last few years, with more than half of the startups there in financial services or payments. But the U.K. vote to leave the European Union has created a lot of uncertainty for these startups. Some FemTech leaders have weighed in on how a Brexit might affect the appetite for collaboration between banks and fintechs.
Will the SEC Push for Board Diversity?: Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White said the agency would propose a rule to give investors even more information about diversity of board members. "The low level of board diversity in the United States is unacceptable," White said. "Our lens of board diversity disclosure needs to be refocused in order to better serve and inform investors." She noted that women make up 20% of Fortune 500 company directors, compared with 15% in 2009. The Government Accountability Office has estimated that, at this rate, "it could take more than 40 years for women's representation on boards to be on par with men's," she said. Whether she can enact the rule before she leaves her post – expected before the next president takes office – remains to be seen.