Another Discrimination Suit: A former Citigroup trader is suing the company for favoring male bankers, traders and financial advisers over their female counterparts, and permitting improper conduct during her employment between 2007 and 2014. Erin Daly says she was fired two weeks after reporting a supervisor for violating rules designed to prevent insider trading. She also says the bank once forced her to apologize, in writing, for requesting equal treatment. "Citi's 'boys' club' policies and practices" reflect a "culture of gender discrimination," said the complaint, filed Monday in Manhattan federal court. "The boys were in charge. The men were doing business. Erin was just a glorified secretary." Daly also filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and plans to add federal discrimination claims against Citi. Sounds familiar.
New Recruits: Competition from online lenders, mobile payments firms and other upstarts is prompting banks to recruit young, tech-savvy professionals — particularly, data science experts and engineers. "What's exciting with the explosion of fintechs and shadow banking is that we are a beneficiary," says Beth Mooney, chairman and chief executive of KeyCorp in Cleveland. "We're attracting talent into our organization that heretofore wouldn't have thought of going to work for a financial institution or a bank." The competition also has motivated senior executives to adopt new skill sets and learn how to drive innovation.
How Tech Teaches the Talent: Belmont Savings in Massachusetts isn't trying to replace its employees who work the phones in an effort to make sales, but it has made some technological investments to get more out of them. "Our branch salespeople were tracking calls by Excel spreadsheet — it was very manual and prone to human error," says Morgan Cambern, director of retail operations. Two years ago the bank partnered with an automated privacy compliance solutions provider that has improved efficiency and training. For example, it dissects a salesperson's side of the conversation and flags the overuse of throwaway words such as "like" or "um." The partnership has led to a 20% increase in sales conversions. "Outbound calling is one of those things some banks don't feel is an effective use of their time," Cambern says. "But I feel for our folks, the more they do it, the better they get at it, and I wanted to invest in those efforts."
Putting Fintech Fears Aside: Putting every aspect of a business through a digital transformation is no small task. But the key is to focus on the customer, according to Claire Calmejane, director of innovation at Lloyd's Banking Group. Lloyd's has redesigned all of its operations to enhance the customer experience. "For example, now we don't say, 'I want to get a mortgage', 'I want to access capital', we say, 'I want to buy a home', 'I want to set up a business,'" Calmejane says.
Replacing Humans, But Not Relationships: Banking leaders discussed some of the influences on their daily decisions and their vision for moving the industry forward, in this series of videos. The women here are executives from BBVA Compass, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, FifthThird and First United. Check out what they had to say about fintech, sexism and courage.
Believing is Seeing: It's essential to believe that what you have to offer at work is important, meaningful and worthy, says Rosilyn Houston, the chief talent and culture executive at BBVA Compass. She writes about how that belief has guided her in her work and how pursuing a passion will lead to purpose. "Spend less time worrying about the many ways you think you're not qualified or valued or doing meaningful work, and spend more time doing," advises Houston, who is the only woman and the first African American on BBVA's management committee.
Debby Hopkins, chief innovation officer at Citigroup and chief executive of Citi Ventures, the company's venture capital investment arm, is set to retire at the end of the year. She will be replaced in both roles by Vanessa Colella, who has been Citi Ventures' global head of venture investing and strategic growth initiatives since 2013. Hopkins has been listed among our Women to Watch several times.
Fidelity Investments' Abigail Johnson will succeed her father, Edward "Ned" Johnson, as chairman of the family-run firm. She also will retain her CEO role, which she has had since 2014.
Citizens Building and Loan in Greer, S.C., said that Jennifer Jones will become its president and CEO after J. Thomas Johnson retires on Dec. 31. Her current title is executive vice president.
First Tennessee Bank in Memphis has named Pam Fansler chairman of the East Tennessee region, of which she has been president since 2011. Fansler, 64, will serve in that role from March until she retires in July.
Faulty System: U.S. companies and institutions have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on corporate policies and awareness programs to theoretically stop sexual harassment at work. But there's little evidence they're effective. "There is a laudable goal, but the way we address sexual harassment now, the whole system is flawed," says Matt MacInnis, founder of a digital distribution business called Inkling. "I mean, is there anti-murder training?" About 80% of companies offer some form of training intended to keep sexual harassment from being an issue, although only three states — California, Connecticut and Maine — require this. "You're building a defense in the event of an incident, passing liability from the organization to the individual," says Eugene Van Biert, vice president for global compliance solutions at Skillsoft. "They want to generate a record so they can say they've done it, then they want to move on," he says. And it's hard for companies that design the courses and the HR departments that implement them to measure their impact.
Ideas of the Ruling Class: "She managed to become a female CEO without sacrificing her femininity." That was the Merriam-Webster dictionary's example of how to use "femininity" in a sentence until writer and activist Alison Segel stumbled on it and tweeted it with the thinking-face emoji. Merriam-Webster removed it shortly afterwards (although it did not offer another sample sentence). The incident shows the power of day-to-day dialogue and prominence of identity politics in the public sphere. "Traditional gender constructs are changing," Segel says. "What makes someone stereotypically male or female doesn't really exist anymore."