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Opinion > An interview with

An interview with Jacqueline Morcombe: Building diverse teams leads to ‘more innovative ideas and better business outcomes’

Sam Monk | 13:45 Friday 11th October 2019

Jacqueline Morcombe, area vice-president of international sales enablement at nCino, discusses diversity in the banking industry, how to efficiently process commercial loans and transparency in the sector.

nCino was founded by those in the banking industry who realised there was a less time-consuming way to process commercial loans. How has this developed in the years since the company’s formation?

Many commercial lending processes are still very time consuming, particularly in the EMEA market, which faces challenges like multiple currencies, languages and regulations and, as such, hasn’t progressed as quickly as the US. However, those financial institutions that have embraced transformation, such as Santander UK — which has recently gone live with nCino’s bank operating system for customer onboarding — experience incredible benefits.

Financial institutions still struggle to provide a truly customer-centric experience because processes are largely manual and paper based. We partnered with UK-based Yorkshire Building Society to digitise its commercial lending division and it has achieved great results, including a more than 90% paperless environment. That has led to huge time and cost savings for its organisation. 

Now, in addition to transforming the SME and commercial lending process, our bank operating system has grown and evolved to also tackle the same challenges in retail banking, customer onboarding and more — ultimately making those processes and experiences more efficient, transparent and seamless.

What changes have you seen throughout your career with regard to diversity in the banking industry? Has progress been fast enough?

There are countries where I have seen a great change. When I visit the Nordics, I see greater executive diversity with more women in bank management roles compared with other countries. In the UK, we can do more to speed up the pace of change. At nCino, we aim to truly embrace diversity in all forms. For example, more than half of our senior leadership team in product development and engineering is comprised of women. In our London office, more than 16 different languages are spoken by our team members. Building diverse teams ultimately leads to more innovative ideas and better business outcomes. You must be proactive and inclusive in attracting and retaining talent — that is something we have done incredibly well at nCino and will continue to do as we grow. 

Alison Rose was recently appointed chief executive at RBS. What effect do you believe this will have for women in the banking industry?

This is a hugely positive appointment for the industry that has the potential to embolden change more broadly. To have a female who has ascended to the role of chief executive at one of the top financial institutions in the UK is incredibly inspirational. I have no doubt that it will change the face of banking and shows progression all the way to the top is possible. It gives me great pride to see female executives in banking paving the way for the future and signals to the broader industry that there is truly an evolution underway.

Do you believe there is enough transparency in the banking sector?

I welcome initiatives — such as gender pay gap reporting — that aim to increase transparency in the industry. While these initiatives create accountability, I believe a lot more is required. Metrics can be quite broad, but we need to focus on key challenges. For instance, we need to solve the issue of talent in the banking industry. To do so, we need to attract more women into the industry and prove that it is a viable career for all. 

If you could change one thing about the banking industry, what would it be?

It’s tricky as there are many aspects of the banking industry that I’d like to help change. If I could only change one thing, though, it would be to ensure financial institutions embrace technology to truly empower their people and eliminate the menial tasks so many people face in banking today. We have a huge talent pool full of intelligent and enthusiastic professionals. By digitising how we operate, we increase efficiency and we also free up their time to take on more challenging and meaningful work, which is great for financial institutions, their employees and, ultimately, their customers. 

How did you get into the financial industry?

I studied finance and economics at university and began my career with a fintech company. I found it to be an incredibly exciting space and was totally in awe with the room for, and pace of, change within the industry. I’m still in awe and believe there is more change to come and love that I learn something new every day. 

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?

If I didn’t work in financial technology, I would have loved to explore a career as an economist which is what I majored in. I find it fascinating and hugely rewarding to look at how to assign a quantifiable value or cost to something that often doesn’t have an obvious dollar value — like the cost of a plastic bag in the Thames or the happiness of an employee in a role. 

I am lucky to be able to apply this framework in my day-to-day work at nCino. Our clients are able to realise many obvious benefits, such as cost savings and efficiency improvements, through adopting our solutions, but understanding and knowing the value of the qualitative benefits is incredibly important.

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