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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.
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New Beginnings

It's been a busy year for Jeff Dennes, who is now senior vice president and chief digital officer for Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington National Bank. Dennes was named a 2010 Elite 8 honoree while executive director at USAA, where he was responsible for the financial services firm's online and mobile channels.

The change, Dennes says, has been good for him, and he is enjoying the added responsibility that comes with his new post. "At USAA, I was responsible for online and mobile broken across multiple leaders; at Huntington, I am the leader in setting strategy for digital channels, including ATM, online, mobile, iPad and future touch-computing devices," he explains.

According to Dennes, creating an excellent customer experience is a top priority at Huntington and for his team. "We are working to figure out a way to insulate ourselves from the legacy systems through all these different channels popping up and the new ways for customers to access their accounts and manage their finances," Dennes says. "And as each channel evolves and customers begin to adopt each channel, we are challenged to ensure that we're creating the best experience and also that we're not creating it time after time after time."

Looking ahead to the coming year, Dennes says his team will catch up on the online space, building some capabilities that will enable a better online experience for the bank's small-business customers and continuing to invest in mobile technology. But the recent economic turmoil will negatively affect Huntington's IT budget, he acknowledges, adding that tight funding is something banks have to manage through business cycles.

"Any time you have an economic downturn like this, you've got to look long and hard at where you're spending and investing," Dennes says. "You want to come out of the economic downturn as strong as possible and invest in things that will best suit you so that when the economy does turn back up, you're positioned to go fat."


Peggy Bresnick Kendler has been a writer for 30 years. She has worked as an editor, publicist and school district technology coordinator. During the past decade, Bresnick Kendler has worked for UBM TechWeb on special financialservices technology-centered ... View Full Bio

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