How one can Make Innovation Significant Once more

Jimmy Stead,  Chief Consumer Banking and Technology Officer, Frost Bank

Jimmy Stead, Chief Client Banking and Expertise Officer, Frost Financial institution


But leaders throughout industries are nonetheless recognized to wax poetic in regards to the energy of innovation to maneuver companies ahead when what they’re referring to is a brand new know-how, strategy, course of, or full enterprise transformation. Innovation isn’t one single factor: it’s a protracted[1]time period funding, and to achieve success, it have to be underpinned by a powerful tradition.

Significant innovation – backed by new applied sciences, experiences, and methods of working – is important to the way in which we do enterprise at Frost Financial institution, and it’s what has allowed us to ship to Texans the customized and empathy-driven service that’s historically related to a hometown group financial institution, whereas additionally offering them with choices and sources that compete with the most effective of the nationwide banks.

However don’t simply take my phrase for it – third-party recognition backs up our strategy: Frost has acquired the best buyer satisfaction rating in Texas within the J.D. Energy U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Research for 13 years in a row, and it has acquired the best variety of Greenwich Excellence and Greatest Model Awards nationwide for six years in a row. We’re extremely pleased with these accomplishments and are much more pleased with the suggestions our bankers obtain from clients who share frequently that they really feel seen and supported.

Nonetheless, we all know that whereas our strategy has confirmed profitable, complacency isn’t in Frost’s DNA. We’re all the time asking what extra we are able to do to assist our clients – and our continued investments in human[1]centered innovation replicate what makes Frost totally different from our friends.

This contains investments within the personnel driving our unified mission, within the experiences that assist our clients’ wants, and in our clients themselves to make their lives higher.


We’re persevering with to spend money on our individuals throughout all ranges of the group – and particularly within the leaders who’re sculpting the imaginative and prescient for the way forward for Frost. Two leaders specifically, each comparatively new of their tenure, are working collectively and with groups all through our group to mix know-how with our values.

Linda Albornoz, who joined Frost because the financial institution’s chief data officer in November 2020, and Blair McGrain, who got here to Frost as a chief advertising officer in July of this yr, are bringing recent insights to the financial institution that draw on their collective experience and the prevailing strengths of Frost.

Linda is a graduate of Rice College and has labored in executive-level know-how positions at Accenture, American Categorical, and Charles Schwab. Blair has a bachelor’s diploma and a Grasp of Enterprise Administration diploma from the College of Texas’ McCombs College of Enterprise. Beforehand, he was senior director of operational planning and efficiency at Southwest Airways and vp of development, advertising communications, member engagement, and transformation at Blue Defend of California.

Each Linda and Blair deliver unimaginable expertise to their roles – however extra importantly, they’re working with our groups and inside Frost’s 150-year-old tradition to reinforce our buyer expertise. This contains doubling down on the usage of rising applied sciences, coupled with deeper knowledge analytics, to proceed serving to us create an enhanced buyer expertise, demonstrating Frost’s dedication to driving impression within the Texas group.

 ​Innovation isn’t one single factor: it’s a long-term funding, and to achieve success, it have to be underpinned by a powerful tradition 

We’re additionally exploring investments in techniques that can assist Frost ship extra significant ranges of customer support, and having top-tier expertise like Blair and Linda will assist us leverage these techniques whereas holding clients on the middle – in flip supporting Frost’s continued aggressive benefit when in comparison with nationwide banks. We all know that buyer engagement is altering – clients don’t need banks to speak at them; they crave interplay. And new expertise helps us make sure that we proceed to satisfy clients the place they’re to meet their particular person wants.

With gifted leaders on the helm, we’re combining technical and advertising experience to succeed in clients and supply them with the extent of service they’ve come to count on – and even a degree of service they haven’t imagined but. Quite than utilizing know-how to offer hands-off customer support or to push clients away from face-to-face interactions, we use know-how to offer the service every buyer – from people to companies – is on the lookout for. In the meantime, knowledge is rising as an extremely vital device in buyer engagement, and we’re on the forefront of leveraging it to assist our rising buyer base.


One other space of continued funding is in our processes. Within the early 2000s, Frost famously dropped our home-mortgage enterprise nicely earlier than subprime mortgage loans helped propel the nation into the 2008 monetary disaster. Final yr, in response to requests from shopper debtors, we cautiously started to discover the thought of as soon as once more providing mortgage loans. Nonetheless, we didn’t wish to get into the “mortgage enterprise,” which stays commoditized and doesn’t match our philosophy of constructing long-term buyer relationships. As a substitute, we determined to construct our personal course of for originating and servicing mortgages for our clients from the bottom up, to reflect the way in which we deal with different shopper loans.

We knew that bringing Frost’s strategy to customer support to mortgage lending would require a customized strategy from begin to end. Creating our personal mortgage lending course of to align with our customer-first requirements required a major funding, the best employees, and the best third-party experience. However we made it occur, and now, we’re anticipating to launch a pilot program for mortgage loans late this yr, which is able to steadily roll out to clients on a extra widespread foundation in 2023. Our mortgage providing course of – from begin to end – is a first-rate instance of how innovation takes form at Frost. We’re listening to our clients’ wants and investing in innovation to satisfy these wants the best manner.


As a ultimate instance, I take nice pleasure within the methods we proceed to take a position straight in our clients – so we may help make their lives higher. Our overdraft grace program waives charges on overdrafts as much as $100, and our early payday program offers direct-deposit clients entry to their funds as much as two days early. For years, our bankers have been obtainable to reply questions 24 hours a day, seven days every week, via our buyer care cellphone line. And as rates of interest have began rising once more, Frost has been one of many first banks within the nation to move these larger charges alongside to depositors, as a substitute of taking the profit ourselves.


Innovation in and of itself just isn’t our objective – as I’ve stated, our objective is to make peoples’ lives higher. These investments in our personnel, experiences, and clients are how we are able to proceed innovating to offer the most effective experiences to Frost’s workers and clients – all via the lens of empathy. It’s all a part of how Frost does enterprise, and it’s how we are going to all the time do enterprise.

Our founders 150 years in the past couldn’t have imagined the technological leaps their financial institution has made, and it’s honest to say that we are able to’t envision what Frost Financial institution will appear to be 150 years from now. However we are able to level to the mixture of innovation-centered investments in know-how, in holding our expertise on the prime of their recreation, and in offering the experiences that our clients want and wish as parts that can preserve us evolving for the higher nicely into the longer term.