Women are a smart investment at Community State Bank
Having celebrated 115 years in banking in 2017, Community State Bank, Iowa (CSB) is no stranger to keeping pace with progress. It has seen its fair share of hardship, surviving the crash of 1929, the OPEC embargo, the recession of the early 1980s, the dot-com crash in 2001, and the Great Recession of 2008. Through it all, CSB’s philosophy of keeping things simple in an overcomplicated world has been a revitalizing voice in the financial world. Even more refreshing is the growing force of women in its workplace.
With the promotion of Kathy Nichols to SVP, Retail in 2015, CSB is proving to be an industry leader in closing the gender gap that is especially prevalent in the banking and financial worlds.
But Nichols isn’t the only woman in the room at CSB. A number of females are in upper management, including: SVP, Treasury Management Jodi Corcoran, SVP, Marketing Jen Canelos, and SVP, Commercial Banker III, Angi Bright. When asked how so many females landed in top management, CSB president and CEO Ronald Nagel said that it had been a natural progression, a wonderfully simple explanation in this day and age. The industry should really take notice.
It’s well-documented that women are paid less than their male counterparts, and have fewer opportunities for advancement. While more and more women are entering the world of finance and banking, they still hold fewer key leadership roles. Other financial institutions should look at CSB to try to emulate its ease of promoting key women to key positions. According to Oliver Wyman’s 2016 report on women in finance, women make up 47 percent of American financial firms, yet only 16 percent of executive committee positions and 20 percent of board seats. These are surprising statistics, considering the overwhelming evidence that women in leadership change the industry for the better.
Nichols and Nagel both believe in being accountable, professional and innovative. Community State Bank’s ability to embrace change is what has made it an industry leader and a leader in the communities it serves.
Other institutions in the industry should implement CSB’s strategies in order to empower the women in their workforce. According to the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, closing these gender gaps matters for development and policymaking. Greater gender equality can enhance economic productivity, something all financial and banking facilities want.
CSB has always been a leader in gender equality, employing women in its early years, with women joining the officer ranks of the bank in the early 1980s. All financial professionals should be energized by these female-forward moves, and notice how it can translate to a brighter future for financial institutions. Women can and will be the pioneers who carry the industry forward. They will be able to tap into the minds of women and offer insight as to how to get more women to invest. In a study conducted by the Center for Talent innovation, only about half of women participating in the survey reported having a financial advisor, and of those who did, 67 percent felt that their advisor didn’t understand them and/or wasn’t interested in them. To lose out on investment capital would be a major loss, and can be easily eliminated by including more female voices in the conversation.
If CSB’s groundbreaking equality measures are any indication, progress is imminent. Women are a smart investment in this industry.