How Much Does Gender Matter in Banking Executive Leadership?

American Banker recently released their list of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking. In connection with the release of that annual ranking, they posed the question, “Does gender matter in banking?

Cathy Bessant Quote

The responses from female bank leaders were consistent. These executives agree that it most definitely does matter. Christine Pierson, EVP of the Consumer Services Division for UMB Financial, offers a good summary of the prevailing sentiments, saying, “The business case is clear that gender diversity makes a huge difference, not only in customer satisfaction measures, also in associate engagement, as well as to the bottom line. It brings us profitability.”

Rebecca Patterson QuoteWhile there are more women in bank leadership positions today and most women feel good about their opportunities, there is still low satisfaction around the industry’s overall progress in attracting, retaining and promoting women. 

I recently attended a bank conference geared toward bank board members. There were more than 100 bankers, primarily bank directors, in attendance. I scanned the room and counted only six females in total. This situation is unfortunately a fairly accurate representation of female bank board member presence.Dorothy Savarese QuoteIn an earlier blog, I referenced research from McKinsey & Company, Thomas Reuters and PEW Research Center that shows that boards with generational, cultural and gender diversity produce an ROE more than 50% higher than those with homogeneous board composition. As you prepare for upcoming board elections and board committee appointments, have you considered your female representation?

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Topics: Culture, Leadership

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