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Propelled by necessity, Jill Castilla shaped Citizens Bank of Edmond into a modern community bank By Bill Streeter, editor & publisher

Photos courtesy of Citizens Bank of Edmond

C a s t i l l a h a s bu i lt a n i mpr e s sive resume: a stint in the Army; finance and economics degrees; CFO of a Michigan community bank; played a key role in Citizens Bank’s two-year workout from a regulatory enforcement order; named CEO of the bank in 2014; named “Community Banker of the Year” by American Banker; elected to the board of the American Bankers Association; turned herself into a social media “wunderbanker.” As Steve Cocheo wrote in a piece on in 2015, “If you travel in banking circles on Twitter, it is hard to miss Castilla (@JillCastilla). She has close to 6,500 followers of her own.” That figure is now 13,000. The resume is impressive, but even more so is Castilla’s enthusiasm for her profession. “I love this job,” she says. “This is my New York Yankees job.” Whenever she travels—even on vacation—she’ll stop in to visit with other bankers. She gets inspiration, ideas, contacts—many of which she implements. For example, the idea for Vault 405, the bank’s downtown co-working location for local entrepreneurs—set up in space resulting from branch consolidation—came from visiting other offices. In the following edited dialog, Castilla shares her views on community banking’s future, learning from adversity, her approach to regulation, and more. As a reference point, the $259 millionassets state bank she heads is situated in Edmond, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City. The bank was founded in 1901 by her stepfather’s grandfather.


orried about banking’s relevance in the digital age? D o n’ t b e . Te n m i nu t e s spea k ing w it h (or rea ding about) Jill Castilla, president, CEO, and vice-chairman of Citizens Bank of Edmond, Okla., will banish any doubts. She’s a one-woman recruiting team for millennials or any other cohort who may view a bank as kind of a stuffy, sleepy,

old-school place to work—or bank. One cohort in particular she hopes to encourage is women in banking, noting that less than 2% of bank CEO positions are held by women, even though they comprise 70% of banking’s workforce. Castilla thinks that represents a huge talent pool that could help solve banks’ succession challenges. “I hope I can have some impact on those numbers,” she says.

Q1. In a digital world, how does a community bank keep a personal touch with customers and the community? I think the digital world enhances the community banker’s ability to stay in touch with communities and even personal relationships. We’re known for being in the grocery store aisle and for being at Little League games. The digital component allows us to be accessible in even more ways than we’ve ever been before. Being on social media March 2018



Banking Exchange March 2018  
Banking Exchange March 2018