When one thinks about the types of people that work for a big bank, it’s not likely they think of archivists, geologists, historians, or gerontologists.
But as it turns out, Bank of America, along with most of its industry peers, now has these types of professionals on staff.
“Bank of America created these roles to ensure we have our finger on the pulse of emerging trends that impact our clients, our business, and the economy in the future,” says Michael Sherman, a senior vice president and global staffing executive for Bank of America.
He says most banks hire “business people who dabble in demographic data” — but Bank of America is unique in that it brings on demographic and psychographic experts who specialize in reaching specific demographics and really know business.
Of course these employees only make up a tiny fraction of the 230,000-person workforce at Bank of America, but they make a big difference, Sherman says.
“By being truly immersed in their area of expertise, the individuals in these unique roles at Bank of America provide in-depth insights into market trends, data, behaviours, and expectations that help shape the way we not only interact with these customers, but also ensures that the products and services we offer are tailor-made for their specific needs,” he explains.
For example, Bank of America’s gerontologist — a person who studies the social, biological, and psychological aspects of ageing — helps the company intimately understand the societal and psychological issues its ageing customers face. “As older generations’ financial needs evolve, we want to be at the forefront of offering solutions that meet their changing needs,” says Sherman.
The geologists at Bank of America — those who study the Earth, the materials of which it is made, and the processes acting upon them — work closely on the firm’s environmental initiatives, governance, and policies “to make the world a better place for generations to come,” he says. “Bank of America is in the middle of a 10-year initiative with the Harvard University Center for the Environment to develop a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Action Plan, and internal geologists are working with engineers, economists, attorneys, and government agencies to address greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
Meanwhile the bank’s historians and archivists manage corporate archives which date back to 1784, and oversee the Bank of America Art Collection, one of the largest corporate collections out there, Sherman explains.
“They also manage the ‘Museums on Us’ program, which provides Bank of America clients free access to 150 museums in the US the first weekend of every month,” he says.
By tapping expertise from a wide spectrum of talent, Bank of America says it’s able to meet evolving customer needs, all while diversifying its own workforce with a larger variety of backgrounds, skills, and experiences.
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