Culture and Talent

Jill Castilla: Social media is an opportunity to humanize big banks

  • Social media emerged right as Jill Castilla was asked to lead a bank turnaround, and she's harnessed it for customer engagement.
  • Banks should use social media to humanize their organizations, not as a problem management tool, she says.
close

Email a Friend

Jill Castilla: Social media is an opportunity to humanize big banks

For a one-branch bank with just $250 million in assets, Citizens Bank of Edmond is one of the most innovative and forward-leaning banks of its size — and way ahead of its community banking peers. It replaced many former branches with video teller machines, and its mobile payment and deposit products are on a par with the biggest banks.

The Edmond, Oklahoma, bank, was on the brink of failure in 2009 when Jill Castilla became its new CEO and transformed it into a leader in innovation — getting it the type of praise usually reserved for the largest banks with bigger budgets and bigger scale. Castilla put social media to work to help Citizens engage with customers, attract talent and rebuild its image.

Castilla, continuously recognized as one of the most powerful and innovative bank CEOs, is also one of the most active on social media, particularly on Twitter. She has more than 12,000 followers there and her feed is filled with tweets about goings on at the bank and in the local area, posts selfies and engages with customers. She talked with Tearsheet about how social media has helped Citizens’ brand, business and community.

There aren’t a lot of bank CEOs so involved in Twitter. What got the ball rolling for you?
I came to lead a bank turnaround. We didn’t have a marketing department; we had very little money. Social media came around the right time and seemed like an accessible way we could get feedback. It was kind of just me doing it from the beginning. It was really time efficient and inexpensive.

Compare your involvement to the larger banks. How come Jamie Dimon isn’t tweeting? 
I don’t know why he doesn’t — it would be the best reputation repair management. He tells some great stories in print media. Big banks tend to use social more as problem management and financial literacy tools. But it really should be a tool to make people feel connected to the people that are running these big banks rather than just being someone that can respond to a question. Big banks are missing out on being able to humanize those institutions that can often be villainized.

Do you have a social media team today?  
We have one staff member that’s part of marketing and has social media expertise. But through social media we’ve gained a reputation in the technology sector for financial services. We could acquire some technology firm to expand our outreach. But there aren’t any immediate plans.

What role has social media played in your understanding of fintech today?
There isn’t a better tool to orient you with what’s happening in fintech. I draw so much inspiration from being able to follow incredible minds in fintech unhampered by legacy technology. Twitter especially can be such a wonderful tool for bankers wanting to access the creativity, the disruption that’s happening throughout the entire world.

What have you learned from being on Twitter?
I initially thought there would be pressure to develop content and started to realize social media platforms are more about a conversation. And you develop professional relationships that could impact the bottom line of the bank.

Can you give an example?
We host a community event every month March through October, Heard on Hurd, and we only use social media to promote it. So I’ve had non-customers email our bank’s generic email address about wanting to be part of our bank just because of what they’re seeing on social media. Often they’re businesses I’ve had no introduction to other than through social media.

0 comments on “Jill Castilla: Social media is an opportunity to humanize big banks”

Culture and Talent

‘For us, Pride never stops’: Financial services emerge to serve the LGBTQ community

  • Despite years of being underserved, the LGBTQ community has new banking options.
  • Incumbent and fintech firms are creating products and services focused on the specific needs of the LGBTQ community.
Rimal Farrukh | November 26, 2020
Culture and Talent

‘Be explicit about civility’: Working from home, companies increasingly combat toxic communication

  • Working from home is becoming the new normal during Covid-19.
  • 38% of employees have experienced toxic communication through digital channels, according to a recent survey.
Rivka Abramson | November 17, 2020
Culture and Talent

‘Changes will not happen overnight’: With speakers at conferences and new hiring opportunities, efforts for equality continue within fintech

  • The financial technology industry is getting more serious about increasing diversity and opportunities.
  • Over 50 fintech companies have joined the Fintech Equality Coalition.
Rivka Abramson | November 16, 2020
Culture and Talent

The need for male allies in financial services with US Bank’s Doug Nielson and MX’s Jane Barratt

  • Venture funding data and the gender pay gap show there's still a big issue in financial services and fintech.
  • But more conversations are happening around gender parity as men get more involved in the changes.
Zack Miller | December 12, 2019
Culture and Talent

Investors Bank’s Dennis Budinich on kindness in the workplace: ‘This is stuff banks don’t even talk about’

  • Investors Bank took an educational approach to career development.
  • Employees became kinder and more empowered in their lives.
Zack Miller | August 21, 2019
More Articles