Look Ma, No Debit Card: Bank of America's head of digital banking, Michelle Moore, is making sure customers never have to come into a branch, unless they want to. Last month B of A introduced cardless ATMs and began letting customers use an app to lock their debit cards remotely. Moore, who runs the bank's mobile app division and oversees its call centers, claims customers can now use the app to do "nearly everything" they previously might have needed to do in a brick-and-mortar branch – including opening a checking account. But branches still have a role to play in the new, digital banking system, she said. "The opportunity for tellers is to help introduce customers to these new technologies, be somewhat of an ambassador for these new features," Moore said. Over time tellers also can become relationship bankers, she added. B of A has even renamed the "teller" position to "financial center client service representative." (You may recall that we have written about this trend of redefining the teller role, which has been going on across the industry for a while.)
Another Win for Lebenthal, Another Win for Women: Citi has hired five women-owned broker-dealers to manage a $1.5 billion bond issuance: C.L. King & Associates, Lebenthal & Co., MFR Securities, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. and Telsey Advisory Group. The announcement comes on the heels of some tech firms in Silicon Valley including women- and minority-owned underwriting firms on their bond issues, Lebenthal among them. "There is a lot of discussion about women-owned businesses, access to capital for women and pay equality, but not a lot of action," said Alexandra Lebenthal, who runs Lebenthal & Co. as co-CEO with Barbara Yastine (a somewhat recent move for Yastine). "Through this deal, Citi is planting a stake in the ground and clearly demonstrating that it is a firm that understands how important women are to this economy." Way to lead by example, Intel.
Masters Brings an MVP on Board: Two powerful Wall Street women are aligning as Digital Asset Holdings, Blythe Masters' blockchain technology startup, named wealth management banker turned serial entrepreneur Sallie Krawcheck to its board this week. Krawcheck, the former Bank of America and Citi executive and a veteran of our Most Powerful Women ranking, is now CEO of Ellevest, an investment website aimed at women, and oversees other female-oriented ventures. Masters nodded to Krawcheck's broad resume in a news release, saying, "She has achieved extraordinary success in her career as both an industry executive and entrepreneur, and her unique mix of experience will be a tremendous asset." Masters herself thrived in a long-running career at JPMorgan Chase, running global credit and later global commodities, and joined Digital Asset as CEO after her exit in 2014. Another woman from Wall Street is already on Digital Asset's board as well – BNP Paribas' Catherine Flax.
Invest in Others: If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together. That's how I'd sum up the advice Carla Harris shares in this Q&A about her success as a Wall Street banker and as a gospel singer. Harris, vice chairman of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, is so active in the church she doesn't miss a Sunday, even if she's out of town. Noting how church members pull together and help each other in a crisis, Harris said she has come to believe that "more often than not, your good work and your investment in other people pays off in ways that you would never expect." But she also knows the world isn't always fair. She suggests the best way to overcome discrimination is to excel. "My mother always told me … 'There are a lot of inequalities in the world. Be so outstanding that there is no debate. If you want an A, shoot for the A+, so if the teacher is unfair, you still get an A.'" (Harris has been featured in our Most Powerful Women rankings a number of times over the years, and this is just one example.)
HCSB Financial in Loris, S.C., is getting a new chief executive following a $45 million recapitalization led by Castle Creek Capital Partners. HCSB, the parent company of Horry County State Bank, said Jan Hollar will become its CEO once the recapitalization closes. Hollar, who has been working with HCSB as a consultant since August 2014, was chief financial officer of Yadkin Financial in Statesville, N.C., from September 2009 to July 2014, when that company was sold to VantageSouth Bancshares.
Pacific Mercantile Bank in Costa Mesa, Calif., has promoted Kittridge Chamberlain to chief banking officer from head of relationship banking. She will oversee commercial banking in Pacific Mercantile's seven regional offices across Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino.
Hancock Holding in Gulfport, Miss., has nominated Sonya Little, chief financial officer for the city of Tampa, Fla., to join its board. A vote is scheduled to take place April 21 at its annual meeting.
In Case You Missed It
Cold Hard Reality?: "Why are there so few women in senior positions in finance?" asked wealth management extraordinaire Barry Ritholtz in his Bloomberg View column last week. Ritholtz examined all the relevant statistics; considered private versus public companies; took into account that women are more risk-averse and thus trade less frequently than men; looked into the question of whether well-managed firms have more women on their boards, or women on boards make firms better managed; and arrived at a conclusion. "The true, though unsatisfying, answer to my original question is: There are so few women in senior positions in finance because there have always been few women in finance. I know, because I've tried so hard to hire more of them. But the numbers are changing, and that's all for the better." Props for optimism. (But I still think Maureen Sherry is on to something with her theory about mandatory arbitration.)
Supreme Candidate: President Obama is vetting Iowa federal appellate judge Jane Kelly to potentially fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Obama is expected to select a candidate in the next couple weeks. However, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has pledged to try to block the Democratic president from filling the vacancy, arguing that this task should be left to the winner of the November election.
More Colorful Oscars Ahead: Director J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot now requires women and minorities be submitted as candidates for its writing, directing and acting jobs, in numbers proportional to their U.S. representation. Abrams, whose latest success, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," features a female lead with a black stormtrooper in the co-star role, said the company had already been working to improve its diversity practices, but snapped to it after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.