Q: What are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing Retail Banking in 2017 and beyond?
A: Retail Banking will continue to experience a significant transformation as customer behavior, preferences and expectations evolve. Technology, for example, plays a larger role in customers’ everyday banking and investing more than ever before. This, among other changes, requires that we be incredibly thoughtful and strategic about where and how quickly we invest to ensure that we are best serving customers across all channels, including branches, care centers, ATMs, and online and mobile banking. At PNC, we want to create a seamless experience for our customers so that each new product or service we create is faster and easier to use. Our success is dependent on our ability to serve our customers efficiently through their channel of choice and to provide customers with access to the financial expertise and unique tools they need to successfully manage their money.
Q: What are your top cyber security concerns and how is your team addressing them?
A: As an industry, I think that we have done a good job of protecting our perimeters by working in collaboration with law enforcement and other financial institutions to protect against the ever-changing list of exploits that bad actors are using to get inside the bank.
Those most vulnerable to being attacked are our individual employees, who bad actors often target through phishing emails, among other channels, to obtain the necessary credentials to hack into PNC’s systems. Of course, phishing is an email that purports to be from a reputable source, while the actual intention is to gain access to passwords, account numbers or other key information usually for malicious reasons.
Q: What do you view as PNC’s greatest corporate social responsibility (CSR) challenges and opportunities?
A: We must make lending decisions in which we effectively balance the needs of our customers and prospective customers with the interests of our other stakeholders. Determining which industries or companies within a particular industry we should lend to isn’t always easy. Another challenge is balancing the long-term payback of CSR with Wall Street’s focus on the next quarter.
Q: What are the greatest challenges facing corporate diversity and inclusion? How do you and your team plan to address these challenges and seize these opportunities at PNC?
A: Historically, corporate diversity and inclusion programs have been areas that were significantly impacted by the economy. When the market performed well, diversity programs and initiatives were well-funded. During difficult times, however, these programs were often the first to be cut. At PNC, diversity has been one of our core values for decades. We believe that we're at a point now, however, where diversity and inclusion is a critical business asset for the organization, in addition to being a foundational component for a strong corporate culture.
Q: How has PNC’s strong support of early childhood education been received by educators and nonprofit organizations that are active in early childhood education?
A: It has been amazingly well-received. When we started the program, we thought the grants would be the most important component of the program. While the money is important, the Advisory Council told us that it was our corporate voice that could really make an impact on the issue of early childhood education. They felt that because we were an unexpected advocate for early education, people would listen to us a bit differently.
We’ve taken this insight very seriously, promoting early education as an economic and workforce development tool, and have received an incredibly positive response from educators and nonprofits. At the end of the day, our goal is to give children the best start to their education so that they not only grow up, but grow up great!
Q: How do you view your team’s role in supporting the communities where PNC serves?
A: Our philosophy is to source locally as much as possible. As we strive to be a good corporate citizen and understand the political and business environment, our approach not only helps the local economy but also benefits our company. Also, we look at the needs of those in our market and adapt our projects accordingly. While we of course have standards, we recognize the importance of being able to adapt. For example, changing design to meet surrounding aesthetics or to coincide historically and architecturally may be expected or essential in some markets, but not necessary in others.
Q: How do you envision our approach to environmental and social risk management (ESRM) evolving over the next five years?
A: We know that corporate responsibility will continue to grow in importance, especially as technology and environmental issues evolve. Therefore, we will continue to learn and make thoughtful decisions as we go, and we will continue to engage with our constituents to better understand what’s most important to them. Among other insights, our stakeholders have taught us that in addition to managing risk, we can and should capitalize on business opportunities, such as those related to the transition to a low-carbon economy. We will pursue financing opportunities that support the environment and are consistent with our risk framework.