5 questions with … ConnectOne Bank’s Siya Vansia
ConnectOne Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Brand and Innovation Officer Siya Vansia is focused on aligning the bank’s digital and business strategies.
Siya Vansia, senior vice president and chief brand and innovation officer, ConnectOne Bank
During the third quarter, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based, $9.7 billion bank invested in its people and technology, Chief Executive Frank Sorrentino said during the bank’s October Q3 earnings call.
In an interview with Bank Automation News, Vansia discussed how ConnectOne approaches innovation, how to prioritize projects and how to determine when to buy and when to build. What follows is an edited version of that conversation:
Bank Automation News: How does ConnectOne Bank prioritize its digital strategy?
Siya Vansia: Our investments in tech and digital are all an effort to support ConnectOne’s core business. We were founded to be a leading commercial bank built around the needs of entrepreneurs and business leaders and solve for the ecosystem of their banking needs. For example, we understand that business owners want a balance of self-serve solutions coupled with a people-first client experience. To that end, some of our investments have been on the client-facing side, and the others on the employee-facing side.
BAN: How does the bank decide on an innovation project to pursue?
SV: My North Star in innovation is that my effort should support the bank’s value proposition. We are a high-performing, growth-oriented commercial bank. My efforts should always be in alignment with that, while also supporting the company’s scale and our world’s evolving trends.
Additionally, there’s a lot of opportunity with legacy technology. I typically try to find opportunities to utilize modern tools to reimagine processes. There’s a lot we unpack before pursuing an opportunity — alignment with the business, business case, efficiency creation and scalability, for example.
BAN: What is the bank’s approach to innovation when balancing third-party vendors and in-house projects?
SV: Two years ago, we were much more dependent on third-party vendors. Today, we’ve brought on incredible tech talent, which presents new opportunities to us. Really, the build-versus-buy conversation comes down to whether there is a company on the market that we could partner with and, if we choose to build, whether we have the subject matter expertise in the business unit. We’ve also taken the hybrid approach, where we‘ve partnered with a vendor to build together.
BAN: What recent tech-forward projects have you been working on?
SV: We’re in the final phases of a deposit origination project with our partner MANTL. This wasn’t just a new system. We are overhauling our deposit onboarding infrastructure and building an omnichannel approach that connects digital and in-branch experience.
We’ve also been members of the USDF Consortium, where we work alongside about a dozen other banks to explore opportunities to bring blockchain technology into the regulatory perimeter.
BAN: How would you describe your leadership style?
SV: I like to take a collaborative, open and communicative approach to leadership. Much of the work we are trying to do is fairly new, and I believe strongly that bringing different perspectives to the table is key to success. I also believe that change is iterative, so I try to move quickly to meet incremental goals so that we can continuously improve as we go. I am personally not a fan of overengineered processes or project plans, but rather playbooks that give teams flexibility.
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