Upwardly Mobile: Coming to BankMobile as chief strategy and marketing officer was a big career risk for Luvleen Sidhu. The all-digital, Millennial-targeted, no-fee offshoot of the Wyomissing, Pa.-based Customers Bank was much different from the jobs at investment banks and consulting firms her peers chose after college. And it came with a drawback in that she would have to overcome the perception that she got the job because her father, Jay Sidhu, is the CEO of Customers. But now at nearly 30 years old, she's running a business she's passionate about and feels that she has shown she deserves her role, given the mobile unit's growth. "I've worked my whole life to excel wherever I am, and I want people to respect me and to believe that I'm here because I earned it," she says. She also discusses the challenges and rewards of "managing up," the best boss she's ever had, how she stays focused and "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."
It's All in the Delivery: Now that Millennials make up the largest U.S. demographic segment, banks need to move faster in adapting to serve them, instead of letting all the upstart nonbank financial providers like Nimbl erode their customer base, says Neale Godfrey. She cites a FICO survey that found "Millennials are five times more likely than those over age 50 to close all accounts with their primary bank." Though the sustainability of alternative banking might be debatable, Godfrey reminds banks that they offer an undifferentiated commodity that is regulated. "Only the delivery and service can change, not the product," she writes. "The monetary system will still exist whether or not you walk into a building or use your app." Godfrey, an author who focuses on the topic of kids and money, says she started her banking career at Chase in 1972 and opened The First Children's Bank at FAO Schwarz in 1988.
Worlds Colliding: Artist Sarah Meyohas fuses art and the stock market. In her first solo show "Stock Performance," which opened Tuesday, she will live-trade 12 NYSE-traded stocks at the 303 Gallery in New York City and paint their price movements. Meyohas, who holds an MFA from Yale and a BS in Economics from Wharton, says, "I see art as an economic thing. … Any attempt to separate art from the [larger] economy is not true." She adds, "A lot of painting in the 20th century was doing things that were against the market, but the market always found a way to reabsorb them. I'm trying to be more truthful and actually work with the market." Meyohas' show will run through Jan. 20.
Bad Guys and Good Guys: In 1996 Jacki Zehner was the first female trader and youngest woman to make partner at Goldman Sachs. She tells a story in Forbes' "Mentoring Moment" series of uncomfortable advances by a male colleague – something familiar to many women in the male-dominated industry. Her rejection of the unwanted attention was met with disrespect and hostility, and her younger, less-experienced self was unsure how to respond. As she tells it, her manager and mentor gave her unforgettable advice: "'You cannot let one bad guy push you out.' He was one of the good guys and he was right. And since then, I never have." Zehner now works for the advancement of women and girls as chief engagement officer at Women Moving Millions.
The Business Case for Baby Care: Goldman Sachs has found on-site nursery facilities are an excellent retention tool for senior-level women ready to return to work after the birth of their children but struggling to find day care for them, according to Sally Boyle, partner and head of Goldman Sachs' human capital management division internationally. The London office opened its nursery facilities in 2003 and has since done the same in New York and Tokyo offices. In cities where it can't provide this service, it seeks nurseries it can subsidize for employees.
Walk Like a Man, Talk Like a Man?: Gone are the days when women had to follow men's footsteps to succeed in business, says Lisa Johnson, EVP and division manager for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking in the Midwest. She says instead of thinking and acting like men, women should forge their own paths. "This could mean connecting with clients while working together to build a community center, or it could mean a flexible work arrangement that fits in with childcare or elder care needs. We need to support and encourage women (and men) who deviate from the well-worn paths of the past." She also talks about mentorship, Wells' biggest challenge in 2016 and how at her first job – at Burger King – she received her introduction to the concept of cross-selling.
Valley National Bank in Wayne, N.J., haspromoted two executives. Andrea Onorato is its new chief administrative officer. Dianne Grenz, previously director of sales, will replace her as director of retail operations and take on the additional role of director of marketing.
Bank Midwest in Spirit Lake, Iowa, has named Mary Kay Batesto president. She was previously chief operating officer and before that chief administrative officer.
American National Bankshares in Danville, Va., has hired Cathy Liles as itschief accounting officer. She was previously chief financial officer of Carter Bank & Trust in Martinsville, Va.
In Case You Missed It
Women to Watch in 2016: Last year was huge for Beth Mooney, Ellen Alemany and Diane Morais – the three women on our list of 10 Bankers to Watch in 2016. Mooney's KeyCorp acquired the $39 billion-asset First Niagara Financial Group, to become the 13th largest U.S. commercial bank with $135 billion in assets. Alemany, former CEO of Citizens Financial Group, came out of retirement to become vice chairman of CIT Group in November, then president and CEO of its CIT Bank unit a month later. She will replace John Thain as CEO of CIT Group on March 31. Morais was promoted from deposits executive to president and CEO of Ally's bank unit in June. Brava.
Don't Blame the Little Guys: Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chair Sheila Bair penned a BankThink piece arguing that regulators failed to differentiate between regional and community banks and the main actors in the financial crisis. As a result, initial capital rules mostly affected the small banks and tougher ones for the large "systemic institutions" were only completed last year. If Sen. Richard Shelby's bill – which would change the way regulators gauge if a bank is "systemic" – goes through, it could help redirect post-crisis policy to institutions that actually pose systemic risk.
Peer Pressure: Boardroom diversity is becoming a bigger consideration for institutional investors. In 2012 investors that controlled a combined $417 billion in assets indicated they considered diversity, according to a study. In 2014 that figure jumped 40% to $578 billion. Companies are resolving to commit to more diversity on boards, which puts "enough pressure on the company that they have to respond in some way," says Susan Baker, a vice president of Trillium Asset Management. "If they're voted down one year, they'll be back on the ballot the next." Additionally, shareholders are paying more attention to detail, for example, asking companies to report the effectiveness of diversity programs instead of just requesting they be created.
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