15 Minutes With … Janice Morgan

Janice Morgan became a community banker by happenstance—after a banker friend suggested she apply for a teller job at a previous bank.

Janice Morgan became a community banker by happenstance—after a banker friend suggested she apply for a teller job at a previous bank.

Assistant Vice President, Treasury Services for the $255 Million-Asset Citizens Bank of Edmond, Okla.

IB: How is the Edmond area’s economy fairing?

Morgan: The economy here in Edmond is really good. Some of the rating agencies call Edmond recession-proof because our economy has diversified quite a bit over the last few years. We’re not just construction and oil and gas. Other industries are doing well, and those businesses still need cash to expand or finance the projects that our economy is still generating.

IB: Your position was recently created at Citizens Bank of Edmond. Tell us about it.

Morgan: I am the project manager on all of our treasury products. My supervisors asked me if I would focus on the department, grow it and promote its products. Previously our retail bankers and lenders sold treasury products as the opportunity presented itself. I now focus on selling and providing support for our treasury products. I am also improving the existing products we have and adding new ones, so we can better compete with other banks offering these services.

IB: How is your bank selling its treasury products differently?

Morgan: I still get referrals from our retail bankers and our lenders. But now if a customer inquires with a banker about a product, my colleagues know they don’t have to be the expert in selling these products. They can just say, “Let me get you in with Janice, and she can go over the products and help you decide what would be the best fit for your need.”

I also search our customer information files looking for certain types of businesses that could be a good fit for our treasury products, and then I proactively contact them.

IB: What particular treasury products does Citizens Bank offer?

Morgan: We offer remote deposit capture and cash management, which includes ACH origination, wire transfer and positive pay. We provide a check-guarantee product, payroll services and a wireless point-of-sale system. We allow our businesses to set up internal sweeps to automatically transfer funds between accounts or to make loan payments. We also have merchant services, which include card acceptance processing for debit and credit cards, and we offer business debit and credit cards.

IB: What treasury products are new for your bank?

Morgan: We’re rolling out several new treasury products this year to round out our product array. Once completed, we will offer a full array of products, which will help us compete with any bank. We will be able to assist our customers with all their treasury needs.

IB: How and why are treasury products important?

Morgan: Because treasury products are important to our business customers. These products provide efficient money-management features, like ACH origination, wire transfers, remote deposit capture and positive pay. It’s important to have these tools for your customers, because once they have a loan and a deposit account with you, they need a convenient way to manage those cash flows.

Treasury products also provide an opportunity to grow non-interest fee income. We have a lot of these products, and each one has a fee related to it, whether a monthly fee or a per-transaction fee. So it’s an opportunity to grow non-interest income and compete better with other banks that offer these services.

Treasury products are also one of those “sticky” products. If businesses have these treasury products available to them, once they get everything set up and it’s working well for them, they’re very reluctant to move to another bank, because it takes a bit of effort to get it all set up.

IB: Are more businesses asking for treasury products?

Morgan: I think so. There are so many vendors out there that provide them, too. There’s a lot of marketing taking place by different companies, so the awareness among businesses for these products is high. Technology has also become a mainstay in our culture. When businesses have a problem or a need, they generally try to solve it with some sort of technology. They particularly want an online solution rather than a paper solution.

IB: What are your goals?

Morgan: I have a goal to increase our treasury product penetration by 30 percent. Some of our customers already use two or three of our products, but some only use one. There are quite a few that don’t use any. So there’s a lot of opportunity for me to contact existing customers and grow that business before I ever have to reach out to a new customer.

Overall, however, I want to ensure that we have the best technology available to offer our customers and to ensure that they feel that we are knowledgeable about their businesses and their needs. I want them to know that we have a sense of urgency when dealing with their needs and requests. They can contact me any way that is most convenient for them—telephone, email, text.

I want business customers to think of Citizens Bank first when they consider which financial institution can provide them with the best technology, products, service and support.

IB: Do you have advice for other community banks about treasury products?

Morgan: It is imperative to develop these products because so many banks already have them. If your bank does not, your customer will most likely reach out to another bank or vendor that does. If that other bank is aggressive, it may eventually win all of the customer’s business.

IB: You use social media quite a bit.

Morgan: We do get a lot of communication though social media! It is not unusual for a customer to contact one of our bankers via Twitter or Facebook with a product question or a need. We monitor those accounts all day, every day and we respond quickly.

Customers are using social media, so we feel the need to be in that universe so we can relate to our customers. It is part of the modernization of banking, and we have a very progressive and forward-thinking culture.

IB: How did you become a community banker?

Morgan: I became a community banker quite by accident. I had been in the health club business with my aunt for about three years, and we decided to sell the gyms. After selling them, I wasn’t certain what I wanted to do. One of my friends was a banker and suggested that I apply for an opening in the teller area at the bank in which she worked. I did so, and loved the work instantly!

I began taking college classes for banking and finance and received my Associate of Science in Banking and Finance. Then I transferred my credits to University of Oklahoma and continued my study of business and math. I have attended several banking schools as well.

I feel very fortunate to have worked for some very fine financial institutions that believe in continuing education for their bankers.

IB: What after-work activities are you involved with?

Morgan: My hobbies include buying and selling on eBay, working out at the gym, attending Oklahoma University football games and tailgating. I also enjoy traveling to a Mexican beach at least annually!