UMB Bank Chief Information and Product Officer Uma Wilson has focused on bringing together the technology and product development teams since assuming her role at the Kansas City, Mo.-based bank in 2021.
The collaboration brings different viewpoints and better understanding of consumer needs, Wilson said, noting, “It’s all about solving our customers’ problems and how we can make them efficient.”
Wilson recently sat down with Bank Automation News to discuss her role and the $37.6 billion bank’s focus on the cloud, automation and product launches planned for later this year. What follows is an edited version of that conversation.
Bank Automation News: What has been the evolution of your focus on both technology and product development at the bank?
Uma Wilson: I’m looking after an entire platform of technology that includes everything from application to infrastructure to cybersecurity and digital payments. The product side is more related to the framework, digital deposits and lending payments. Product and technology did not work together all the time, but product folks bring the voice of the customers to the technology folks, and now both are willing to understand it’s not just about building technology or using the cloud.
BAN: What technology is on your radar for the remainder of 2022?
UW: UMB is on a cloud journey. The technology-enabled business is focused more on real-time payments. This is an exciting time in our industry because we really have not had a new payment rail introduced in our network for many years. This is the first new payment rail which allows us to operate 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 per year, which is powerful.
The challenge on both the technology and product side is thinking about same-day execution. Those are the key points that need to be focused on.
BAN: What role does automation play in UMB’s technology and product development approach?
UW: Automation should not be an afterthought. We are trying to optimize on automation, rather than trying to pass back, meaning when you put automation as a project, you will never achieve it. Don’t make it a separate track. There are things that you do every day and you should be able to have a critical lens to say,
‘Are there things that I’m going to be rolling out that I can automate?’ I think that’s the best way I would say that we look at automation.
BAN: Does UMB have any product launches on the horizon?
UW: There’s a project on the cloud automation and transformation side that I’m very much focused on because transformation drives efficiency which will be announced in the fourth quarter. There is also a real-time payment initiative in the works, which can be discussed further in Q3.
BAN: What’s your favorite piece of leadership advice?
UW: Good managers drive better leaders in the long run. So, our executive managers preach that … within our team and across our company. In that spirit, we had a motivational speaker many years ago come speak on leadership. One of the quotes he provided was, “It’s your ship, make it the best,” [Navy] Captain D. Michael Abrashoff.
That’s something that resonates with me, and I share that with my team.
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