2016 Digital Bankers of the Year: Each year American Banker recognizes bankers who are helping their companies deliver great customer experiences in digital channels, and among those who have been selected this year are Carrie Sumlin and Secil Watson. Sumlin, digital consumer executive of Ally Bank, is leading its effort to streamline online banking, with initiatives that include making logins simpler and anticipating customer needs. Watson, head of wholesale Internet solutions for Wells Fargo, is planning a summer rollout of software that will allow commercial customers to scan their eyes to verify their identities, which should shorten the login process. Check out all of the Digital Bankers of the Year profiles here.
An Effective Way to Shush Women: As mandatory arbitration lives on, so does gender inequality and harassment on Wall Street, argues Susan Antilla at TheStreet. Banks are forcing their employees into silence with non-disparagement agreements, agreements not to participate in class actions and strict gag orders in settlements, Antilla writes. Companies fire complainers and seal damaging documents that could end up in a public court file. The arbitration issue has been getting a lot more attention lately, as apparent from our recent newsletters. For example, Maureen Sherry, a former Bear Stearns managing director, highlighted this practice in her novel "Opening Belle," released earlier this year, saying such agreements are often written into new hires' contracts to be signed before starting a job (as you may recall reading here).
FX Vanguard: Despite the rise of women in currency trading, the financial services industry is still dogged by its "bros' club" image and most agree gender parity is a distant goal. Foreign exchange heads Claudia Jury of at JPMorgan Chase, Catherine Flax of BNP Paribas and Camilla Sutton of Scotiabank are leading a "vanguard" of women "chipping away at Wall Street's bros' club." Flax says there are "quite a lot of senior women and an even larger number of juniors coming up." Sutton is hopeful more change is ahead. "When I look above me, there are women, but they're few and far between," she says. "It still feels like there's a big ladder to climb ahead of me – maybe it never feels like you're there. Maybe that's what keeps you coming back every day."
Goldman Grades: Goldman Sachs its scrapping numerical ratings in performance reviews as employees seek "more direction with respect to how they can improve," according to Edith Cooper, global head of human capital management. It's the latest measure by Goldman — which recently announced it would expedite promotions for top-performing analysts and associates — to retain its junior bankers. Goldman will keep its 360-degree annual review, in which employees solicit feedback from their managers and a select group of colleagues. It also will test an online tool among some employees that allows them to give and receive feedback at any time, Cooper said.
Amalgamated Bank in New York has appointed Lynne Fox as its first female chairman. Fox is the international president of Workers United and manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board for Workers United.
Stock Performance Review: Morgan Stanley studied companies with high gender diversity and found they had better stock returns with lower volatility. "It isn't a little less volatility," said Chief Equity Strategist Adam Parker, who led the study. "The volatility is so much lower that you're capturing something about more balanced, higher quality organizations." The study gathered information from 1,600 companies, including the percentage of female employees overall and in executive roles, the size of the gender pay gap, policies that address diversity issues and programs that enhance the work-life balance, like maternity leave.
Where the Female CFOs Are: While women make up roughly 14% of chief financial officers at Fortune 500 companies in this country, they represent 42% of CFOs at nonprofit institutions. Crain's addresses the possibility that nonprofit CFOs might be the new "women's job" – like for-profits' general counsels, marketing officers and HR positions. Female nonprofit CFOs make 20% less than men working in similar roles, research shows.
Mission to Modernize: Girl Scouts membership has been on the decline, so the organization's chief executive, Anna Maria Chávez, is seeking ways to modernize the group and its image. She has invested in creating a digital presence, such as allowing members to buy uniforms online, and new hires in areas like technology and branding. Girls can now also earn badges in things like STEM subjects and financial literacy. In addition, the organization welcomes transgender children on a case-by-case basis. If the child is recognized by the family, school and community as a girl, "then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe," Chávez says.