Women in Banking: Ellen Costello Returns; FemTech Fail

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Citi Womans Up: Citigroup has announced that former BMO Financial chief executive Ellen Costello and Intel president Renee James are joining its board of directors. They will fill two newly created seats and will be the fourth and fifth women on the board. The expanded board will total 16 members as of Jan. 15. Costello was a regular among the Most Powerful Women in Banking for years before her retirement from BMO in 2013. (Wells Fargo is still the leader among large U.S. banks with seven women on its 16-member board.)

Modernizing the Community Bank Model: How do small banks stay relevant in an increasingly competitive and ever changing marketplace like that of financial services?  Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma, turned to Twitter and other social media to wake her bank from its coma a couple years ago. Citizens has since become a model for small banks fighting to modernize. "People bank with community banks because they know you, and through social media, they feel like they have met us," even when they haven't, Castilla says. "It's like going to a million chamber of commerce events and shaking everyone's hand." Castilla, one of American Banker's 25 Women to Watch, also has been named one of its three Community Bankers of the Year for 2015.

Something's Gotta Give: Financial services has always been a profoundly male-dominated industry at the executive level, but the gender imbalance in the fintech sector could be even worse from the executive level all the way down, writes American Banker's Mary Wisniewski. Anne Boden and Heather Cox are among those making a mark on the young fintech industry, but they stand out in a strikingly small pool of women. Given that women control the finances in a majority of households, Wisniewski argues that the lack of women in fintech puts that sector at a disadvantage in understanding its market. "How can fintech really change financial services when everyone leading the revolution looks the same as the rest of the industry? What kind of change is possible when the very composition of the industry hasn't changed at all?" Wisniewski asks. (Also, check out FemTech Leaders, a growing collection of profiles of fintech superwomen.)

How Blythe's Getting Her Wall Street Groove Back: Speaking of fintech superwomen, Blythe Masters is reportedly seeking a $35 million funding round by Dec. 24 that would value her blockchain startup, Digital Asset Holdings, at $100 million. Rumor has it her former employer JPMorgan Chase will lead the round with a $7.5 million investment and Santander — which has Masters as nonexecutive chairman of its Santander Consumer unit — will invest $3 million. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Nasdaq are also rumored to be participating. Earlier this week, former SunGuard and Swift execs were added to the board and management team at Digital Asset Holdings. And as noted here a few weeks ago, Masters reportedly declined an offer to run investment banking at Barclays from its new CEO, Jes Staley, who is, like Masters, a JPMorgan veteran.

Not So Great Expectations: Research out this week suggests women working in financial services in London expect they'll receive smaller annual bonuses than their male colleagues, reflecting not just the gender gap in the industry but also women's perceptions of their own worth, according to recruitment firm Astbury Marsden. Women surveyed anticipate bonuses of $24,300 (21% their salary) on average, while men look forward to bonuses of at least twice that, $49,200 (34% their salary). Women in the workplace has been a hot topic for the British government lately, as regular readers will recall. It recently announced a scheme requiring large companies to publicly disclose information on the average pay of their male and female employees and issued a report urging them to strive for one-third female representation on their boards by 2020.

Finally!: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost 10 years, a long anticipated move. Some bankers are relieved, some are cautious. Many anticipate more rate hikes in 2016. Dorothy Savarese, president and CEO of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, is among the bankers talking about the impact of the Fed move in this article. "Our business is a function of the overall economic environment," she says. "I'm cautiously optimistic that a rising rate environment would be reflective of a strengthening economy." Savarese is one of our Most Powerful Women in Banking.

Role Call

Investors Bancorp in Short Hills, N.J., has hired Philippa Girling to head its enterprise risk management team. She was previously business risk officer for Capital One's commercial bank and will now oversee Investors' Bank Secrecy Act, compliance and credit risk departments.

Opus Bank in Irvine, Calif., has created a formal division for lending to municipal governments and has promoted Debbie McLeod to lead the venture. McLeod is director of retail strategies at Opus. She will retain her title as her role extends to municipal banking.

Arundel Federal Savings Bank in Glen Burnie, Md., has appointed Patricia Stetler as chief risk officer. She previously worked in risk management for Susquehanna Bank.

Tompkins Financial in Ithaca, N.Y., has named Alyssa Fontaine general counsel. Fontaine has been a partner at law firm Harris Beach since 2006.

Anchor Bancorp in Lacey, Wash., has named Varonica Ragan to its board. Ragan is chief compliance officer and director of accounting and finance at Brighton Jones, a Seattle wealth management firm.

In Case You Missed It

By the Numbers: A study of bank executive pay by SNL Financial is worth a look. More coverage of the study can be found here. The study found the pay gap between male and female bank CEOs is about $150,000 annually. And not unlike their U.K. counterparts, men running U.S. banks between 2007 and 2004 received 60% pay raises on average, nearly twice that of women running banks. The study also found that the share of female bank CEOs in the U.S. has remained roughly unchanged over the past seven years, and the group of bank CEOs that SNL analyzed reflects this very skewed ratio — 21 women and 568 men. In 2014, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was the highest-paid male bank exec, with $27.7 million, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, who is CEO of JPMorgan's asset management unit, was the highest-paid female bank exec, with $15.7 million. By comparison, Beth Mooney, CEO of the much smaller KeyCorp and American Banker's Most Powerful Woman in Banking for the last three years, is the highest-paid female bank CEO; she received $7.1 million in 2014.

Beyond Banking

Doing Things Differently: The United Nations is urging women to apply for its top leadership role. There has never been a female Secretary-General of the U.N. before, but that could change now. Ban Ki-Moon's term is up in one year and discussions on who will replace him begin in July. For the first time in the organization's 70 years it plans to make the selection process more transparent. Traditionally the 15-member Security Council considers an undisclosed list behind closed doors and recommends a candidate to be elected by the General Assembly. "Member states are encouraged to consider presenting women, as well as men, as candidates for the position of Secretary-General," and in keeping with the theme of transparency, names of individuals will be circulated on an ongoing basis, according to a joint letter to U.N. members from the heads of the Security Council and General Assembly.

Billionaire Boys and Girls Club: There are more female billionaires now than ever, thanks mostly to an increase in female Asian entrepreneurs. A UBS/PwC Billionaire report reveals the number of female Asian billionaires has risen to 25 in 2014 (out of 145 female billionaires overall) from three just 9 years earlier. "The rise of female and Asian billionaires over the last two decades is creating an entirely new billionaire demographic," says Josef Stadler, head of global ultra-high net worth at UBS. "While there is no such thing as a typical billionaire, virtually all are focused on building a lasting legacy for future generations." The report found that about 96% of ultra-wealthy women in Asia are "active wealth creators;" in the U.S., 57%, and in Europe, 63%.

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