- Daily Zen
JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets, has appointed two new executives to head its information units in a bid to make its workforce more inclusive and increase racial and gender diversity in its most senior ranks.
James Reid has been appointed as the chief information officer for a new unit — Employee Experience and Corporate Technology — which is focused on updating its systems with innovations that will focus on modernizing technology used by the bank’s 250,000 employees.
Reid was earlier heading corporate technology’s engineering and architecture team and is the bank’s first Black CIO and the first Black member of its technology leadership team.
JPMorgan has also appointed Melissa Goldman, the company-wide chief data officer, as chief information officer for the renamed Finance, Risk, Data and Controls technology unit.
Goldman will continue to lead a team developing technology for risk, compliance, finance, liquidity, controls, and data functions, the bank said.
Banks are increasingly transitioning to a digital existence where most of the customer-related functions are carried out digitally, requiring no physical presence. Hence, they need to upgrade and modernize their systems.
Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of wholesale payments, said in an interview in January that the bank had learned many lessons in 2020, which they needed to implement as soon as possible. He said, “What has changed is that clients now have an urgency to adapt to a digital environment, driven in part by necessity rather than convenience.”
As CIO for Employee Experience and Corporate Technology, Reid will report to the banking group’s CIO Lori Beer. He will head the banks’ technical team that looks after the bank’s corporate functions, such as HR, legal and audit, tax and robotics.
Reid is a Distinguished Engineer, a title given to a select group of JPMorgan’s technologists who drive the firm’s technology strategy, as well as a member of the Cloud Design Council, and a leader of diversity and inclusion initiatives at the company.
Reid joined JPMorgan in 2019, and before that, he was working with Equifax for 17 years and where he reached the position of senior vice president of core software engineering.
In his annual shareholder’s letter in April, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon had talked about how fintech companies and startups were a big threat to the traditional banking model and were competing for business in the financial space with the traditional banks. He warned that banks were now looking at a landscape where they will be “playing an increasingly smaller role.”
A recent study provides some useful insight into how the industry assesses its digital transformation journey. The survey found that only 40% of the bank executives surveyed believed that they have made any significant progress in meeting their Digital Transformation goals.
If we compare this with start-ups like Monzo, Starling and Revolut, they have achieved a high level of digital maturity by creating digital-only business models at speed and innovating on the product cycle in their area of specialization.
Analysts debating on the digital transition in the financial industry believe that it is the speed, convenience and even the increasing reliability of these fintechs that is driving the market. Traditional institutions traded for decades on the idea of trusting one’s primary financial institution. To them, it was almost sacred. But now trust is earned as much because a fintech has provided convenience consistently.