Lisa M. Stanton was recently elected to serve on the board of The Washington Trust Co. She has more than 25 years of experience in financial services, technology and data security, including previous positions with Citizens Financial Group Inc. and American Express.
Stanton currently serves on the board of directors for Trulioo, a Canadian-based global identity verification company.
PBN: How has the pandemic changed the way companies, particularly financial institutions, store and analyze data? Which of these changes do you think will be permanent in a post-pandemic world?
STANTON: Data is everyone’s most precious asset, and it is critical that it remains protected. The good news is that many companies, particularly financial institutions, were already making substantial investments in securing and storing data before the pandemic.
The past year has only reinforced the importance of this investment, giving companies who were not yet making it a priority the chance to do so. It’s important to note that while technology can be used to make systems more secure, it can also be a driver of analytics to help improve and enhance customer journeys, and to help the business make strategic decisions and investments for the future.
For instance, advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping to identify risks and potential fraud much earlier by highlighting unusual patterns and flagging them for review. I expect that we will see continuous investment in this space so that customers who choose to conduct business online feel even more safe when doing so.
You can’t put a price on the value of trust between a business and a customer, and investments in these technologies will provide returns in perpetuity.
PBN: Fraud and identity theft has been a huge problem during the pandemic, particularly regarding unemployment claims. How do you think government agencies, or companies in general, as well as consumers, can better protect their data and personal information?
STANTON: Protection from cyberattacks and identity theft is an ongoing, changing responsibility that is shared by institutions and by consumers.
Companies and government agencies are consistently making investments in systems and technologies that help protect our data, but we must also take ownership of that responsibility to be more diligent and protective of our own details to keep them out of the hands of criminals.
Some steps that we as consumers can take to protect ourselves include learning how to tell the difference between a secure and an unsecure website, not being afraid to ask for confirmation of identity via a second factor of authentication (text, email, phone call), and simply to use caution when considering a link or attachment.
PBN: What from your experience in data security and fintech do you hope to bring to the board of Washington Trust?
STANTON: I hope to lend insight to the Washington Trust teams who are working hard for their customers every day, specifically related to digital advancement and risk mitigation.
Washington Trust already recognizes the importance of having a robust, secure set of digital access points for customers since it is a key factor in both their choice and subsequent satisfaction with their financial institution.
Technology is enabling us all to do more without having to go anywhere, and if the past year has taught us anything, it is that we need to be able to do what we want from wherever we want. Equally important is the need to ensure that customers are protected as they interact digitally.
PBN: Large banks and fintech firms are increasingly dominating the tech-side of the finance industry. What role do you see smaller community banks like Washington Trust playing in the digital and tech-reliant world?
STANTON: Banks like Washington Trust realize that there is no substitute for a friendly, knowledgeable banker when one has a question or concern about their finances.
While they continue to enhance the digital offerings via online and mobile banking to meet the tech-reliant trends, it’s the blending of that technology with a genuine human connection that will continue to elevate Washington Trust as a bank of choice.
PBN: What are your top priorities in your new role on Washington Trust’s board?
STANTON: My aim as a board member of the Washington Trust Co. is to be additive. I hope to lend my previous experience and knowledge to the already strong team to serve as a trusted voice as the organization continues to explore growth and advancements that can enhance the customer journey.
Having spent time with Ned Handy, chairman and CEO, and all of the leadership team, there is such a commitment to quality and a customer-focused approach to everything they do, and I am really looking forward to playing whatever part I can in shaping the future of banking at Washington Trust, while helping secure the reputation and image it has held in our communities for more than two centuries.
Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.
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