Chief Operations and Technology Officer
Bank of America Corp.
Can a $2.2 trillion-in-assets megabank modernize and innovate
as nimbly as changes in technology and the competitive
landscape require? If there are lingering doubts, Bank of
America Corp. is well along in putting them to rest.
Weve set a goal as a management team to make the
digitization of BofA our legacy, says Catherine
Bessant, who for the last six of her 34 years with the
bank has been its chief operations and technology officer.
Finance is technology, and technology is financial
services. Its a complete molecular osmosis. You
cant tell one from another. Scale to a great extent
defines Charlotte, North Carolinabased BofA, which
employs more than 200,000 people and earned $15.9 billion in
net income last year. Its U.S. retail business consists of 47
million consumer and small-business relationships, 4,700
offices and 16,000 automated teller machines. Bessant revels in
some big numbers of her own: an annual technology budget of $17
billion and 110,000 employees and contractors around the globe.
Signs of how times have changed: The bank has 33 million active
online customers and 20 million mobile; 15 percent of deposits
are made through mobile devices. The role of mobile is to
be a virtual financial center, a virtual financial
adviser, a virtual trader, says Bessant, 56, whose
previous positions included president of global corporate
banking, president of global product solutions and global
treasury services, and chief marketing officer. She is proud
that BofA was granted 259 patents in 2015 more than any
other financial services company. (The bank also leads the
industry in blockchain-related patent filings, with 36.) But
size and technological prowess have a downside. A big target
for hackers, BofA is spending more than $400 million annually
on cybersecurity and will commit more if necessary, Bessant
says, noting that 23 percent of last years patents were
security-related. Bessant is leading a transition to a
software-defined network infrastructure that by 2018 is
expected to be handling 80 percent of the banks workload.
Other projects include cardless ATMs, which are accessed with
mobile phones, and iFulfill, a web-based loan origination
The 2016 Tech 50: Making Financial Services Faster, Cheaper,
Bigger for more.
The 2016 Tech 50
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