Jodi Richard, COO officer of US Bank, believes in collaborating with the different departments within the bank, particularly when it comes to the technology side of finance, one of the reasons why she wins this year’s AFTA for the best technology executive (sell side).
She says her job entails guiding operations risk into the brave new world of technology by taking the lead in building a more collaborative workplace to prevent silos that mask potential risk. “Operational risk is a broad field that focuses on managing the control environment,” Richard explained in her Waters cover profile in May last year. Her schedule, unfortunately, meant that she was unavailable for an interview for this article. “We think about what controls we have in place to mitigate the unknown and how we can avoid big, one-off events,” she said.
Richard oversees a wide range of risk controls for US Bank and meets regularly with her counterparts who work on its enterprise, governance, risk and compliance (EGRC) tools. She has a hand in how US Bank manages internal and external data loss, risk self-assessments, business continuity and disaster recovery, and its data protection program.
The bank created a unit that focuses on operational risk technology, headed up by the technology team, although it works in conjunction with the operations team. Richard is a firm believer that as technology grows in importance within the financial services industry, it becomes even more important for there to be clear communication between all the groups within a bank.
This is particularly important when evaluating innovations and products. As she heads up the operational risk unit, she has to have a seat at the table. “We’re integrated into the business, we were involved in evaluating the strategy of the bank and we make sure that we can stay back and examine those processes and adapt our programs to work jointly to manage that risk,” she said. “I think that’s why it’s important that operational risk has a seat at the table.”
Increasingly, Richard added, she has had to keep an eye on cybersecurity, even though technology still offers a lot of benefits, particularly in terms of the risk team’s workflow. US Bank has been interested in automation to help manage risk and identify fraud for faster and more accurate processes. It is also looking at how it can leverage machine learning and robotics to take advantage of its data trove. Staying current and aware, she says, is the key to success.
“I think risk professionals—not just in operational risk, but in all risk disciplines—need to look at new ways to manage risk, understand what those emerging risks are, and adapt risk management tools to mitigate those areas,” she said.
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