Talent and innovation: the future of banking

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By Scott Anderson
ABA point of view

As As I near the end of my term as ABA President—this is my last column for the magazine before handing the hammer to Dan Robb of Missouri—I would like to look to the future with two of our most important future-oriented challenges: talent and innovation.

Amid the so-called “big quit,” with employees quitting at a sustained rate roughly 50% above pre-pandemic rates, banks across the country are facing a challenge to find and retain the talents. Workers leave for a variety of reasons – care responsibilities, refocused priorities, opportunities to relocate closer to family with remote work, or the need to increase income in an inflationary environment – ​​but whatever the reason for members leaving team, it behooves us as bank leaders to deal with it.

To help bankers identify and recruit top talent, the ABA has partnered with more than 30 state associations to sponsor BankTalentHQ. We have all pooled our resources to create the best single source of banking jobs in the country.

Of course, just as important as recruiting (and much less expensive!) is retaining our top talent. As an industry, we have a lot to offer: competitive salaries, top-notch benefits and a great company culture. At ABA, opportunities like the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and certification programs can be part of your retention toolkit.

The talent challenge is compounded by rapid technological change compounded by growing non-banking competition. For one thing, many of our banks compete with top tech companies and fintech startups for technologists and programmers. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, known as the “Silicon Slopes” for our high-tech jobs center, Zions Bancorporation opened a 400,000 square foot technology campus in July. It will be our main operational hub and will bring together 1,500 employees to collaborate and innovate.

Employees will benefit from natural light; healthy food options; wellness and health facilities; and options for access to bicycles, public transport and electric vehicles – all amenities that will help them perform at their best at work and foster innovation, while helping Zions compete globally. regional level for technology talent.

On the innovation front, ABA has spent the past year building new partnerships to help banks succeed in this changing environment. Our strategic investments are a key driver of these partnerships.

Earlier this year, ABA exited one such investment: a company called Finxact, which was acquired by Fiserv. We invested in Finxact several years ago because it was a startup with talented leaders developing an open core cloud-based solution. This is the direction our banker-led Central Platforms Committee has been pushing the core industry for years, and Fiserv’s purchase of Finxact is a proof of concept for our strategy. More generally, we see cores large and small moving clearly in the direction ABA has taken: towards open APIs, transparent and fair contracts, and flexible access to banking data. We still have work to do, but it’s a good start.

ABA has made a new investment in NYDIG, which helps banks offer bitcoin custody services to their customers. Consumers have expressed a clear preference for engaging in crypto through their banks. As we can see from recent market swings, crypto won’t be for all banks or for all customers, but by working with NYDIG, we can identify ways for banks to do so in a compliant and safe manner. security if it is part of their strategic plans.

Finally, ABA made a second round investment in Canapi. This venture capital fund is dedicated to incubating fintech partners designed to work with community and mid-size banks, and through our investment we are able to connect our member banks directly to this innovation ecosystem.

Banking talent is the driving force behind this innovation. Together, the investments bank leaders are making to address these two challenges will set us on the path to a prosperous future.

ABA Chairman Scott Anderson is president and CEO of Zions Bank in Salt Lake City.

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