Baby Bonding: Bank of America is increasing its paid parental leave from 12 to 16 weeks for U.S. employees. In an internal memo issued Wednesday, B of A's U.S. health and wellness benefits executive, Jim Huffman, also noted that the bank offers a child-care reimbursement program, backup child-care program and up to $8,000 of reimbursement for parents adopting. "The birth or adoption of a child is a momentous occasion for an employee," Huffman said. "We want to make sure they have time to care for and bond with that child."
Glass Cliff: Props to "Closing Bell" co-anchor Kelly Evans for challenging ex-Lehman Brothers chief financial officer Erin Callan Montella on the role that her gender might have played in her personal rise and fall during the dying days of the Wall Street powerhouse. "You said to them, 'We've got too much of this real estate debt on the books. We need to sell it down.' A similar conversation was happening over at Goldman and they did sell it down. But the guys at Lehman did not and, in fact, were talking to you about your outfits being a distraction during your executive meetings," Evans said. For her part, Callan Montella, who was the first woman on the executive committee at Lehman, dismissed all of the gender issues that Evans raised, saying she believes she lacked authority more so because of her short tenure in the CFO role. Now a wife and mother who has detoxed from her former Wall Street career, Callan Montella has written a book, "Full Circle," about her time at Lehman and afterward, and in it she is open about her personal experiences, including a suicide attempt. She said the whole point of the book was to be reflective and to take responsibility (rather than to blame). "It's not intended to be self-help, or advice," Callan Montella said. "I'm not proud I didn't have the resiliency to go through it."
Relationship Currency: Work hard, but don't just let your work speak for itself, advises Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley vice chairman for global wealth management. Instead, always be cultivating relationships with everyone in the room; that's the most important "currency" in the workplace. Harris often speaks about performance currency versus relationship currency and says too often she's seen women gravitate toward (the less valuable) performance currency. "What will make the difference for that next big assignment are the relationships that you have," she says. "Because that next assignment is going to be based on somebody's judgment … and judgments are directly influenced by relationships."
Keep Your Friends Close, Competitors Closer: With fintech growing as a competitive threat to the financial services industry, Mike Bodson, chief executive of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, solicited some advice this week from Digital Asset Holdings CEO Blythe Masters. "Ignoring or trivializing what other people are up to is a very dangerous trade," Masters said. "It makes you feel better when you dismiss your competitors. … But the risk of ignoring the opportunity is gigantic. … The imperative is to stay focused on your competitive position, even if you're the sole provider of infrastructure." Bodson's post-trade financial services giant announced this week that it plans to test a distributed ledger for managing repo transactions using software developed by Masters' blockchain startup.
The Opposite of You: MetLife Solutions Group managing partner Bellaria Jimenez is calling on the financial services industry to overhaul the way it attracts and retains talent. Technology, the environment and social norms are changing rapidly, and if the industry wants to keep up, it should focus on pulling in women and millennials. But what Wall Street has to offer isn't enticing enough for millennial candidates, and its lack of moral support and flexibility doesn't offer a safe space in which women feel they can succeed, she said. True success does not come from hiring people who look like you, but from hiring people who are the opposite of you, Jimenez said.
Cynthia Kitner has been promoted to CEO of Jefferson Security Bank in Shepherdstown, W.Va. She was previously CFO.
The New York State Department of Financial Services has named Celeste Koeleveld general counsel. She will report to Maria Vullo, the agency's acting superintendent. Koeleveld had been with the New York City Law Department since 2008.
ESSA Bancorp in Stroudsburg, Pa., has appointed Christine Davis Gordon to its board. She is deputy chief compliance officer with Olympus Corp. of the Americas.
HomeTrust Bancshares in Asheville, N.C., plans to have Laura Kendall join its board on Friday. She is a managing director at Aurora Management Partners in Charlotte.
Heritage Oaks Bancorp in Paso Robles, Calif., said the president and chief banking officer of its bank unit plans to leave at the end of April to pursue other interests. Simone Lagomarsino, the president and CEO at the holding company, will take on the additional role of bank president, after Rick Arredondo leaves.
Tech Giants Closing the Pay Gap?: Intel has reported that it reached 100% gender pay parity and Apple that its female employees earn 99.6 cents to every man's dollar. Amazon has claimed its women make 99.9% of what their male counterparts make and Expedia has committed to disclosing its gender pay goals by October. The woman behind the movement, Natasha Lamb, is looking at eBay, Google, Adobe, Facebook, and Microsoft next. Lamb is director of equity research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna Capital and a shareholder in a number of tech giants. She has filed shareholder resolutions at Intel and Apple forcing them to engage with the concept of equal pay transparency. "Our clients are interested in investing in such a way that they're having a positive impact on the world with their money," she said. "We pick issues that we think are good for society, good for the environment, and will be good for the companies that manage them well."
RBG on the Stage: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will appear in a stage production of "The Merchant of Venice" running through July. She will make a cameo appearance as a judge in the trial of the Venetian Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It won't be her first time appearing in a stage production of Shakespeare. Ginsburg, 83, recalled the time she played Dick the butcher in Henry VI, whose infamous line is: "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."