Luncheon speaker – Catherine P. Bessant, COO, CTO, Bank of America

The Palm Restaurant, May 8, 2018

Cathy Bessant is the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America and as a member of the company’s executive management team. Since 2010, Bessant has led Global Technology and Operations (GT&O) and delivered end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries.

Active in the community, Bessant was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for her civic and business contributions to the state of North Carolina and received the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Charlotte Business Journal. She chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee.

Bessant is ranked No. 1 among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” on American Banker’s 2017 ranking and previously was ranked No. 1 on Institutional Investor magazine’s Tech 50 list of financial technology leaders. She also appears on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list of 2017.

Cathy was most engaging with the HHBC luncheon audience.  She spoke about the character of Bank of America and its focus on the ESG, the environment, the social nature and the governance of Bank of America seeking to enlist the support and interaction of all its employees in improving the banks operations and continually growing the bank incrementally.  She mentioned that in the last five years, the top officers and Board members of Bank of America have visited with over 1/3 of the bank’s stockholders learning about their impressions and expectations for the bank going forward.

She commented that banking regulation is extremely important, but that they wanted to see the rules amended in ways that would reduce data collection just for the sake of collection and to make sure that existing regulations work to improve the bank’s performance for customers and shareholders alike.  She said that banking regulations had been reduced from over 25,000 pages down to about 18,000 pages.  At the same time, she maintains that banks have learned from their mistakes and are safer and sounder than before the Great Recession.

Cathy spoke about the advancement of Artificial Intelligence and how it was important to use that intelligence in support of their customers and to make sure they do not provoke a backlash to that information.

Cathy was open to questions from all comers.  She delighted in speaking about the support that Bank of America gave to Mecklenburg County in its recent episodes with ransomware.  She spoke about her involvement in the North Tryon Business Plan, recruiting millennials, leveraging the hub and spoke transportation system that is being considered and slowly developed in Charlotte.  She even addressed the Carolina Panthers and the need for a new stadium within the next 10 years.  Cathy enjoys being active in the Charlotte region.  It is clear that she intends to stay involved for years to come.