2010's Elite 8 Honorees: Where Are They Now

The recent economic turmoil and a tougher regulatory environment continue to challenge bank technology executives, who must work to improve the customer experience while cutting costs and boosting efficiencies in order to remain competitive. Bank Systems & Technology checked in with the 2010 Elite 8 honorees to see how today's challenges have changed their responsibilities and their banks' focus over the past year.
October 12, 2011

John Itokazu, Chief Information & Operations Officer, Union Bank


Strategic Investment

When John Itokazu was recognized as an Elite 8 honoree in 2010, he was executive vice president and CIO of Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorporation and EVP of technology and operations for the firm's subsidiary, Zions Management Services Co. In that role, Itokazu managed an organization of 1,700 people in nine divisions that covered an array of areas, including customer service, security, bank cards, and services and information technology.

In his 32-plus years at Zions, Itokazu recalls, he faced myriad large-scale challenges and changes. But over this past summer Itokazu made a significant change himself -- he moved to Union Bank, where he serves as the institution's new CIO and operations officer. In his new post, Itokazu will build out San Francisco-based Union Bank's technology and operations to support its substantial growth ambitions.

Union Bank's two top priorities in the coming year heavily involve technology, according to Itokazu. "Union Bank will maintain its focus on customer service and on expanding its market share in the United States. Some of that expansion will come organically and also through strategic acquisitions," he says. "Technology and operations are key enablers of growth, so a significant priority will continue to be the investment in our systems and operations functions, along with the successful integration that comes with acquisitions."

Strategic technology investment is important to Union Bank in these extremely turbulent economic times, during which budgets everywhere are carefully scrutinized, Itokazu explains. "We have a lot of important initiatives that will add value for the bank and our customers," he says. "The key is making certain we are investing in the right initiatives and we execute well."

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