Slideshow The Changing Role of the Bank CFO

  • April 27 2015, 9:00pm EDT
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With the role of the chief financial officer being redefined since the financial crisis, we asked CFOs at banks across the country, from Stock Yards' Nancy Davis to Comerica's Karen Parkhill, about what parts of the job they most enjoy, which tasks are taking up more time now than in the past, where they wish they could spend more time and, finally, what they would tell themselves at the beginning of their careers. Here are some of their responses.

Nancy Davis

Stock Yards Bancorp, Louisville, Ky.
$2.6 billion in assets

Where more time goes now:

"Investors are more sophisticated, active and engaged than ever before. We spend a lot of time trying to build relationships with them."

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Karen Parkhill

Comerica, Dallas
$69 billion in assets

Favorite part of the job:

"I enjoy the opportunity to help set the direction for our company and then tell our story — to investors and other constituents. As CFO, you get to do that a lot. And, in for-profit companies, performance is most commonly measured financially. CFOs sit in the catbird seat to first see, first analyze, first interpret, and first suggest how to continually improve. It goes without saying — that is a powerful position."

Paul F. Clemens

First Midwest Bancorp, Itasca, Ill.
$9.3 billion in assets

More time for this please:

"Two words: talent management. The industry continues to evolve, with smaller banks being consolidated into larger ones. To run a larger institution, one needs to not simply hire more people, but continually attract top talent to anticipate and deal effectively with, what I submit, is a more complex, diverse, and interconnected financial industry. Financial institutions with the best talent will be able to successfully navigate this environment and differentiate themselves from others."

Dan Patten

CIC Bancshares, Denver
$712 million in assets

Note to (young) self:

"Be prepared to look forward as much as you look backward. And don't plan on getting a lot of sleep."

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Ashley Dennis

The Hardin County Bank, Savannah, Tenn.
$428.5 million in assets

Favorite part of the job:

"I view a regulatory exam just like I would an exam as a school kid, and I want to excel. I feel the time in between regulatory exams is our study period. We are given the necessary material, but we must do our homework and study. When examiners show up, then it's time to show them what we know."

Kirk Billingsley

Pendleton Community Bank, Franklin, W.V.
$267.5 million in assets

Where more time goes now:

"Dealing with the regulators when they come is even more time-intensive than it once was, since it seems you never know if Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde is going to show up. Sometimes we have seasoned examiners who are typically pleasant and understanding just like in the pre-crisis days, but every now and then it seems Mr. Hyde may show his ugly face and we'll get regulators who aren't really understanding what they are asking for and why and that type can cause a lot of unnecessary stress."

David B. Marshall

Union State Bank, Arkansas City, Kan.
$250 million in assets

On the wish list:

"I would love to be able to spend more time teaching financial literacy to bank customers and providing the basis for individual development of bank personnel."

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Mollie Carter, Rob Cafera

Sunflower Bank, Salina, Kan.
$2 billion in assets

More time for this please:

"While people are tempted to focus on the 'glamour' pieces like M&A, it is not the meat and potatoes of our daily jobs. Helping our team understand what drives earnings and risk is the value creator."

(Mollie Carter is CEO and acting CFO and Rob Cafera is executive vice president, finance, at Sunflower Bank.)

Dale Gibbons

Western Alliance Bancorp., Phoenix
$10.6 billion in assets

Where more time goes now:

"Since the recession, Western Alliance has developed a much more robust risk-management process. The vetting process for us to embark on a new business line or venture today is substantially more comprehensive than in 2006. We include a broader spectrum of experts and professionals to weigh in on a subject, challenge the pro forma model directly and hypothesize adverse scenarios."