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WSFS Bank Adds Director of Innovation

Gillian Meddings most recently managed product development for the private student loan business at Sallie Mae.

Wilmington, Del.-based WSFS Bank has named Gillian Meddings to the newly created role of senior vice president and director of innovation.

As a community bank, WSFS is looking toward technology innovation to improve the customer experience and help create "products and services that could really give us a competitive edge in the market," says Meddings.

Meddings currently works with a team of five people in what the bank is calling the "WSFS Winnovation" team. Meddings's team spans business lines, she notes, and is its own independent unit within the bank. The group periodically meets with an "innovation advisory committee" with representatives from each line of business and works with the finance department to do business case assessments on potential new products, but ultimately doesn't report into any one group and operates with an "independent charter," Meddings says.

Gillian Meddings, WSFS Bank
Gillian Meddings, WSFS Bank

The group already has some projects in the pipeline, the details of which Meddings isn't at liberty to divulge at the moment, But, she says there are three primary areas the group is focused on. The first is customer experience and making interacting with the bank for customers "as frictionless as possible."

The second area of innovation she is focused on is payments, and the third is mobile and digital channels in general. "We are really a multi-channel organization," she notes. "Our vision is to be anywhere the customers is, and for them to be able to access their account information from wherever they choose."

Before arriving at WSFS, which has 43 branches and $4.9 billion in total assets, she has been part of the leadership teams at MBNA, Chase, and most recently Sallie Mae in Newark, Del., where she managed the product development for the private student loan business. She also has both an undergraduate degree and a Master's degree from Oxford University.

"I really believe in this role I can draw on past experience to help develop new products and services," she says.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2014 | 4:40:41 PM
Re: Innovation not just for big banks
Right, as I keep hearing, "innovation is a journey, not a project." So, good luck to Gillian!
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2014 | 4:26:34 PM
Re: Innovation not just for big banks
Yes, the "culture change" is going to be one of the hardest aspects of promoting innovation in any institution. Also convincing the finance people to fund a project that may not have an immediate, measurable ROI.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2014 | 3:08:10 PM
Re: Innovation not just for big banks
Yes, and I'm sure part of Gillian's mandate is to lead the culture change that is required to adopt a productive approach to innovation (or if it's not it should be!).
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2014 | 2:18:47 PM
Re: Innovation not just for big banks
I'm sure once the innovation teams and people are in place they will be able to help coordinate some education efforts to do that. They'll be in a unique position to define and share the organization's philosophy and vision around innovation.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2014 | 1:42:25 PM
Innovation not just for big banks
It's very encouraging to see a community bank working to "institutionalize" innovation, and I think Gillian Meddings' focus on payments, customer experience and mobile/digital makes a lot of sense. I guess one of the next challenges at WSFS will be to inculcate innovation thinking in all business areas and employees, not just the designated innovation teams/people she describes in this article.
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