September 22, 2008

A bank CIO's job has never been easy, and the current economic crisis will only increase the pressure on technology leaders. According to Catherine Allen, founder and CEO of Santa Fe, N.M.-based The Santa Fe Group and founder and former CEO of BITS (Washington, D.C.), the bank CIO has a much more pivotal role now than when BITS was founded in 1996. "The CIO now has enormous power," she says.

Allen attributes this largely to the emergence of the Internet as a commercial medium and to the addition after 9/11 of counter-terrorism compliance to a growing body of regulatory constraints. "The CIO became strategic around 1995 to 1997," she says, and now the CIO is a business executive as much as a technologist.

Certainly business acumen will be in even greater demand as banks try to do more with shrinking budgets. The biggest challenge facing CIOs will be stretching "the limited financial resources into an understanding of business needs and translating them into technical/process solutions," says John Fricke, chief of staff with the Financial Services Technology Consortium (New York).

To find out what other challenges await bank CIOs and identify exactly what characteristics make up an elite technology chief, BS&T asked a panel of industry insiders.

CIOs Must Have Cross-Discipline Knowledge

Cost of Replacing Outdated Systems Key for CIOs

Customer Centricity Important Focus for CIOs

Identity Management, Greening Among New CIO Challenges

Banks' Reputation, Security and Strategy Rest in CIOs' Hands

CIOs Add Product Development and Project Management to Responsibilities