July 20, 2018
Amy Hibbard

In this installment of Geezeo One-To-One, Amy Hibbard spoke with Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma. Jill Castilla has become a master of social media and an internationally recognized voice for community banking. They discuss how community banks can build a strong culture, a strong voice in the industry, and use data to get there.

Geezeo: What advice can you give small community financial institutions as it pertains to fintech?

Jill: Dive in and get to know the crowd – Twitter, LinkedIn, industry publications and trade associations can all point you in the right direction! There are numerous emerging technologies and companies around the world that are doing incredible, creative work and would love to partner with a community bank to test out their potential. Fintech is not limited to customer-facing products and our core vendors should be pressed to innovate and increase the relevancy of how we deliver technology to our team members. Companies like Geezeo that help bridge the gap for the consumer, as well as provide better data accessibility/management/analysis for the bank, should be at the top of your list when identifying potential partnerships.

Geezeo: When shopping for a vendor, are there any resounding characteristics you look for?

Jill: Integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and an uncompromising commitment to the security of our customer’s information and financial data are the key ingredients for me – of course, this has to be coupled with a strong vendor management program, but be prepared to have to handhold an early stage fintech company to meet the requirements. Ultimately, the relationship is what matters most. You will be experimenting together and that requires grace, competence, and a win-win mentality.

Geezeo: What does data enrichment mean to you from a CEO perspective?

Jill: Data enrichment is synonymous with opportunity in my eyes and should be a requirement for any new technology adopted. Simplified sophistication should be the new norm and it’s only able to continue to evolve and anticipate customer needs when we can effectively use and enrich our data. As a community banker, our data has historically been difficult to access, while other industries incorporated predictive analytics long ago. Simplified processes used to convert raw data into useful, refined information will allow community bankers to develop and enhance our competitive advantage (knowing our customers) and anticipate opportunities/challenges/trends more effectively. Once you understand your customers and their habits, perfectly tailoring services to individual customers becomes easier and easier.

Geezeo: What can a core technology CEO learn from a community bank CEO?

Jill: Core CEOs are handcuffed with extraordinary bureaucracies and a labyrinth web of patched together technology based on ancient technology. Community bank CEOs have the luxury of direct access to the customer and flatter organizational structures; however, we face similar difficulties with aged, complex technology. Both CEOs have profitable business models and, therefore, change is risky and hard. Both CEOs know that profitability without radical change to meet the technological expectations of the consumer is unsustainable and that disruption from an outside party could destroy both business models. Now is the time for Core CEOs to take a page out of the community banker handbook and engage with their customers, simplify their offerings (you don’t need to and shouldn’t offer more than one core) and be the change that their community desperately needs. The community bank CEO can be a resource because we have had the professional courage to close branches, change lobby experiences and introduce technology to initially resistant customers – all similar to the challenges of the Core CEO.

"Community Banker of the Year" by American Banker, "Most Innovative CEOs in Banking" by Bank Innovation, "Most Admired CEOs in Oklahoma" by Journal Record and "Business Leader of the Year" by Oklahoma Christian University, Jill Castilla leads Citizens Bank of Edmond as its President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman of its bank holding company. She is the visionary behind "Heard on Hurd", Citizens' community building event that draws over 25,000 to a bank celebration every month. She leads community bank innovation through development of ATM customer interaction products, branch lobby design, and customer outreach methods. As an industry leader and active community member, Jill serves on numerous boards, including American Bankers Association, Southwest Graduate School of Banking at SMU, Friends of Traditional Banking and both Oklahoma City and Edmond Chambers of Commerce. Jill leads social media in the financial industry and is a frequent keynote speaker on leadership, banking, and technology. Jill holds a Master's degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor's degree in finance from Hawaii Pacific University where she was honored as one of their first distinguished alumni. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin's Graduate School of Banking. Jill is married to her husband of 23 years, Lt. Colonel Marcus Castilla. She served in the U.S. Army and Oklahoma Army National Guard and is an Army wife and an Army mom.

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