You can tell immediately that Tina Giorgio isn’t one to let the grass grow under her feet. Upon first meeting ICBA Bancard’s new president and CEO, it’s clear that she’s someone who actively seeks out challenges and enjoys getting things done.
Giorgio possesses more than 25 years of payments systems experience and most importantly brings the perspective of a community banker to her new role. For nearly 20 years she worked at Maryland-headquartered Sandy Spring Bank ($4.7 billion in assets) where she held leadership positions in vendor management, marketing and client services and most recently served as senior vice president of deposit operations and digital delivery. She has also served as a board member or advisor for numerous financial services advisory groups, including the Federal Reserve Faster Payments Taskforce, the FIS Strategic Planning and Advisory Council and the NACHA Risk Management Advisory Group (where she served as chairman).
Bancard Confidential recently sat down with Giorgio to learn more about her core values and discuss where she sees challenges and opportunities for community banks in the payments system.
BC: Tina, we’re so pleased you’re here! You’ve been president and CEO of ICBA Bancard a little more than two months now, but have already hit the ground running. What are your initial priorities as you transition into your new role?
TG: Thank you. I’m very glad to be here. I place enormous importance on client relationships, so I’m spending my first 90 days meeting with and listening to Bancard’s customers. I’m also evaluating Bancard’s present client treatment strategies to make sure that we’re delivering high-quality service and customer care. If changes need to be made, we’ll make them.
BC: Can you share a little bit about where you see our industry heading from your perspective as a payments expert and former community banker?
TG: Certainly. As card issuers we are seeing the cannibalization of our revenue and our transactions as other payments channels emerge that are becoming faster and less expensive for merchants. We are also dealing with the substantial burden of managing risk. EMV has been billed as the next big thing in payments security, but I personally think it’s a temporary stop gap.
BC: That’s interesting. Why?
TG: We’re probably 10 years out from mass adoption of EMV at the merchant, so it’s a nuisance for the consumer who is never sure if they should swipe or dip. I recently converted the ATMs at my former employer to chip and I can tell you the experience was horrible. Transaction times more than doubled. These factors, among others, are leading consumers to mobile, which is actually more secure when you think about it. A unique token is generated every time a transaction occurs and the card number is never used for the transaction. Then, you’re using biometrics to authenticate when you make the purchase, so even if your phone is stolen, the digital wallet can’t be used. And, let’s face it. Everyone’s got their phone in their hand. The wallet is buried. The phone is in-hand.
BC: That’s true. Especially of millennials and their younger cohorts.
TG: Exactly. Millennials prefer to manage their finances with mobile. They are far less concerned with privacy and security than previous generations and when you look at where their loyalty lies, it isn’t with financial institutions. They are loyal to Apple, Android, or Samsung…which means they won’t think twice about using a non-bank provider like Mint.com or PayPal if they are easily accessible and convenient.
One of my goals is to continue looking for new opportunities to leverage ICBA Bancard’s buying power and partnerships as new digital solutions emerge.
BC: Speaking of technology, can you give me an example of how you have successfully leveraged technology during your banking career?
TG: Last year, I served on the FIS Strategic Planning and Advisory Council and helped with the development of the SecurLOCK Communicate app, which is a security service that provides two-way SMS text capabilities for quicker fraud identification and prevention. Payments fraud is a hot-button issue for me and SecurLock Communicate essentially deputizes the cardholder to approve or decline a suspicious-looking transaction by sending him or her a text alert. We are in the process of rolling this out now to Bancard clients and are looking at additional enhancements to the SecurLOCK suite of risk mitigation tools to follow.
BC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TG: I’ve been very engaged in the payments industry for more than 20 years and have first-hand experience implementing new technologies like digital wallets at a community bank. I’m looking forward to sharing best practices that I’ve learned along the way and finding new ways for Bancard customers to improve their performance and margins.