Bank Watch

BofA tech head: Fewer graduates going into banking because of industry’s perception

“It’s always been a little bit tough to convince people that banking is as dynamic as it really is,” Cathy Bessant, head of technology and operations for Charlotte-based Bank of America, says.
“It’s always been a little bit tough to convince people that banking is as dynamic as it really is,” Cathy Bessant, head of technology and operations for Charlotte-based Bank of America, says. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

It’s getting tougher to lure graduates into careers with the financial sector, thanks in part to negative public perception of the industry.

That’s the analysis of Bank of America’s Cathy Bessant, the bank’s Charlotte-based head of technology and operations, who spoke Thursday at a banking symposium for women. The event was held in uptown’s Omni hotel.

Bessant said the proportion of graduates going to work for startup companies and in technology and other areas is rising, while the proportion attracted to financial services has decreased.

“Obviously, our public perception hasn’t helped that,” she said.

“But I think since the sands of time it’s always been a little bit tough to convince people that banking is as dynamic as it really is.”

Bessant oversees a workforce of about 100,000 employees, roughly 6,000 of whom are in Charlotte. Her unit’s responsibilities are varied and range from cybersecurity to rolling out new mobile-banking innovations.

Her talk Thursday covered a wide range of issues:

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