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Changing industry: more diversified workforce, products, services

Banking is a changing industry that is evolving to meet the changing needs of the customers it serves. With that, the face of banking changes to represent more diversity and the skills of banking employees change as new products and services are offered.

BancorpSouth Bank is diversifying with a Hispanic marketing program. Leticia Castaneda Gassaway heads those marketing efforts.

“BancorpSouth developed a Hispanic marketing plan from the need to reach the large and rapidly growing Hispanic market,” she said. “The primary focus is to reach out to the Hispanic community in their native language. By overcoming language barriers, we make BancorpSouth bank accessible to them. We want Hispanics to view BancorpSouth as a trusted source for their financial needs.”

Numerous services are provided in the Spanish language. That includes a dozen Spanish language brochures in all of the bank’s offices. In areas of high Hispanic concentration, there are bilingual customer service representatives to assist customers. The bank system’s ATMs have a Spanish language option and the toll-free information line provides a bilingual customer service representative six days a week.

“We are continually expanding all services and are involved in community events,” Gassaway said. “We sponsored the Hispanic Festival at Rapids on the Reservoir in September where many prizes were given away and Spanish brochures were distributed.”

Gassaway conducted a Spanish financial literacy class during the festival and again at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Jackson following the Spanish Mass. “Through the classes, our goal is to familiarize Hispanics to the U.S. economic system and to instill the importance of financial planning,” she said.

Resa Frey is Hancock Bank’s vice president responsible for employment and employee relations. She began as a teller with the Gulf Coast-based bank right out of college in 1993 and moved up through the system. She feels that her own experience and those of other employees who’ve been with the bank for many years are good recruiting tools.

“We’ve always been interested in making sure we have a diverse group of employees and make a very concerted effort to recruit employees from different backgrounds to serve the varied customers we have,” she said.

A part of that recruitment includes recruiting at colleges that historically serve African-American students. The Management Associates Program (MAP) is another part of the plan. MAP is designed to recruit employees with liberal arts degrees.

“It’s been a successful program in the three or four years we’ve had it,” Frey said. “We give these employees the tools they need to transition into banking. We find that liberal arts majors have analytical skills and make good bankers.”
With a high concentration of Vietnamese residents on the Gulf Coast, Hancock Bank pays close attention to recruiting in the Asian community. Efforts are made to make sure the bank has gender diversity, too. As more Hispanics move into the area, the bank is actively working to hire Hispanics.

“We have always had marketing directed to all ethnic groups and all of our recruiting is focused on getting a diverse workforce as well,” Frey said. “That diversity includes employees with different backgrounds and skills.”

David W. Martin is not the banker of yesterday. As senior vice president and wealth management consultant with Trustmark Bank, he is a CPA, certified financial planner (CFP) and a chartered financial consultant in addition to having bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“I was drawn to the banking field because I like to help people solve problems,” he said. “At Trustmark Wealth Management, I can help people solve their financial problems with our products and services.”

He believes today’s banks have the tools to solve all their clients’ financial problems by offering traditional banking products and more comprehensive solutions such as investments, risk management, trust services and retirement plans.

“Because banks have expanded their services and product offerings, the future for banking is great,” he said.

Another Trustmark employee, Stan P. Purvis, is also a CPA and CFP and serves as a vice president and financial planning advisor with Wealth Management.

“As a small child, my grandfather always took me to the bank to deposit part of my work earnings in my savings account and to check on CD rates,” he said. “This exposure led me to have an interest in finance and ultimately work in the banking industry. Because of my interest, co-workers, friends and family members were always asking me for financial advice.”
He says that those entering banking now have more opportunity to help clients and pursue their own career goals.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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