Diligence Protects the Dollar

If there’s a defined path for women who desire a career in banking, it’s starting at an early age and working hard, at least according to the résumés of these five San Antonio women.

Not that the teller window is where they all began.The very fact that their first paying jobs weren’t in banking at all is a testament to the truth that there’s no substitute for experience when it comes to landing a job and being successful.

But these San Antonio bankers have something more than impeccable customer service skills, keen business acumen and a strong work ethic. They are women who lead and inspire, who generously support people and causes, fully embracing their role in helping build a better, stronger community.

Christy McCoy
Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer
Lone Star Capital Bank

First Job: Assistant in an insurance office where her mom worked.

Best Advice: Practice the 80/10/10 rule. Budget 80 percent of your income to cover your expenses, save 10 percent and give 10 percent. A native of Boerne, Christy McCoy was happily working in the express lane at a grocery store during her first year of college at the University of Texas at San Antonio when a local bank manager noticed her energy and enthusiasm for the job. “She asked me to come interview with her,” says McCoy, who didn’t hesitate. “She hired me, and I found that I really enjoyed banking.”

wib-christyThat was 20 years ago. Today, as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Lone Star Capital Bank, McCoy is responsible for managing the bank’s securities portfolio and overall liquidity position. She’s in charge of budgeting and reporting as well as providing oversight to the bank’s BSA and compliance programs.

“I love that I am able to interact with various departments at all levels, including the board of directors,” McCoy says, adding that she’s never bored in her job. On a typical day, you might find her working on securities transactions, combing through the general ledger in order to ensure accurate financial reporting, negotiating with vendors or assisting her staff with issue resolution.

The fluctuating economy also keeps things interesting. McCoy expects the Federal Open Market Committee may raise rates this year. “Global pressures are hampering our domestic economy, making growth difficult,” she says. “Because of these pressures and other structural challenges, I feel the economy will grow at a slow pace in 2017.”

At home, McCoy is mom to a son in middle school and a daughter who graduates from high school this year. She looks forward to making lasting memories with her family before the girl goes off to college.

If she gives her any advice, it will be about seizing every opportunity or challenge, about always being willing to grow, the way she herself has done.

“Be observant, listen and watch how the leaders around you get things done, how they speak to their peers and others,” McCoy says. “And model what you see that works.”

Laura Cabanilla
Vice President, Community Development
Wells Fargo Central Texas

First Job: Cashier at Super Kmart

Best Advice: Know the difference between your needs and wants and the importance of good credit.

New to the financial services industry since joining Wells Fargo early last year as a community manager, Laura Cabanilla is anything but new to serving her community.

wib-laura“I have had the privilege of working in the community and economic development space as a consultant, chief of staff to two city council members and a nonprofit leader,” Cabanilla says. “Relationship building throughout my career has been key to my success, and along the way, I have had the honor of working with talented, intelligent and intuitive individuals.”

Cabanilla describes herself as a “proud product of the South Side,” a graduate of Harlandale High School, St. Mary’s University and UTSA. In her job today, she provides oversight for Wells Fargo leadership on housing, education, economic development and financial literacy needs in San Antonio. She heads up the bank’s efforts in corporate initiatives and community development programs for the region.

“Forecasting, being strategic, understanding how decisions impact actions and how that affects people, businesses and the community has been something I have learned to take into consideration,” Cabanilla says. “There are always ripple effects to decisions we make. That is why I am honored to be in the position I am today because I can help affect change for the betterment of our communities and our bank.”

It’s not simply something she talks about. Cabanilla is often seen out in the community volunteering and working with various organizations throughout the year. Also a lifelong athlete, Cabanilla is taking what she learned from her coaches and mentors and teaching her two young daughters to play.

“Playing sports throughout my life has taught me how to compete, lead, the significance of time management, honesty, integrity, discipline, drive and how to be part of a team,” she says.

“I’m excited to wake up each morning, knowing that what I have learned on the court still holds true to my job and that I work with amazing, dedicated team members at Wells Fargo,” she says.

Leticia Quintero
Vice President and International Division Manager
IBC Bank

First Job: Cashier at Flores Grocery

Best Advice: Make a budget and stick to it, but leave a little room for the unexpected.

Though working as a cashier helped a young Leticia Quintero realize how much she enjoyed working with money, the reason she chose to pursue a long career in banking goes by one name.

wib-leticia“I was inspired by Elva Quijano, a cashier and vice president for Plaza Bank,” Quintero says. “For the first time ever, I saw a woman in a leadership position who was strong and dedicated, not only to her job but to her employees as well.

“I said to myself, ‘That will be me someday.’”

Like Laura Cabanilla, Quintero is also a Harlandale graduate. But Quintero began her career as a commercial teller at a local bank and is now vice president and international division manager at IBC Bank, where she’s worked for eight years. She works with international customers and travels frequently to learn more about her customers and build relationships.

Quintero believes the U.S. economy continues to be strong among other countries and will start climbing gradually if the Federal Reserve begins to raise rates to prevent inflation. She also expects 2017 to be the year she expands her department by adding staff and customers.

“I think the most challenging part of my job is risk and responsible growth,” Quintero says. “Risk, due to money laundering issues that are happening all over the world. It’s important that we know who our customers are and ensure transparency of transactions. Growth, because it’s important for the International Department to do enhanced due diligence on all prospects before opening an account.”

A mother of three and grandmother of four, Quintero now tries to inspire other young women to continue their education, work hard and embrace their job. “If you do that,” she says, “everything else will fall into place.”

Wendy Erickson
Executive Vice President of Corporate Banking
Frost Bank

First Job: Store clerk at The Plate & Platter

Best Advice: Take advantage of online resources to learn how to manage your money.

When Wendy Erickson gives financial advice, she does so from a position of practice that began with her first job out of college, at General Electric Credit earning $675 a month, and continued through the savings and loan crisis, the economic downturn of the 1980s, and the ups and downs since.

All were tremendous turning points in a long and successful banking career helping others.

wib-wendy“During this time (the S&L crisis), I developed working relationships with various legal advisors as well as with the business owners and entrepreneurs faced with devastating financial loss,” Erickson says.

“However, what was so rewarding is we truly were ‘workout’ officers. More times than not, we negotiated settlements that provided a win for all parties, enabling the business owners to move forward and take the steps necessary to rebuild their business.”

As the economy improved, Erickson, a San Antonio native and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, continued to expand her banking career as a private banker, commercial lender and as a leader of various technology and business development initiatives with Frost Bank over the last 21 years. She is currently an executive vice president serving as a community leader for the Alamo Heights market area, responsible for commercial banking portfolio development and management.

“I meet new and wonderful people every day who are passionate about their purpose,” she says. “The majority of my time is focused on business development with customers and prospects in all venues — from their business to school functions, including work with various community groups.

“This commitment to our communities is central to Frost’s culture and core values. I am very fortunate to work for the Frost organization making a difference in the community, building upon the many relationships I have developed through the years.”

Today, Erickson lives and works in the same neighborhood where she grew up, near her family — including her sisters, brothers-in-law, seven nieces and nephews and their children — and a 91-year-old mother who, she says, still guides the family with a healthy dose of humor attached to life’s wonderful lessons.

In her own life, she has learned it’s important to “take time to be a leader and a worker bee. Both will bring value and insight to you.”

Alyssa Hartlage
Senior Vice President/Commercial Real Estate Lending
Broadway Bank

First Job: Bank auditor with the Texas Department of Banking.

Best Advice: Find a mentor. This is important for any career. Identify someone you look up to, and if there is not a mentor program in your business, do not be afraid to take the initiative by asking your mentor to give you some tips over coffee or lunch, or just schedule a meeting. I would not be where I am today without mentors.

A Houston native, Hartlage came to San Antonio to be closer to family after she graduated with a bachelor of business administration in finance from Texas A & M University in 2001. She would follow this with a master’s in business administration from UTSA in 2006.

wib-alyssa“I majored in finance because I enjoyed working with numbers, and there are several careers open with a finance degree,” she said. She enjoyed her first job at the Texas Department of Banking because she worked in all aspects of banking from retail operations to bank investments to management and bank loan reviews.

However, the first job required a lot of travel, so she decided to remain in the banking industry by using her experience in a local bank. “My first banking job was as an analyst in the commercial real estate department,” she said. “Over the years, I was able to grow and become a junior lender, then a lender.”

Hartlage recognizes in banking it is always important to put the client first. “We are always trying to improve the client experience through building relationships, listening to our clients’ needs and making it easy to do business with us,” she said. She believes one of Broadway’s strengths is as a local bank with decision makers readily available, allowing quick response to a client’s unique needs.

She said, “Customer service is extremely important in banking because it is a highly competitive industry with multiple channels and devices, from online to in-person experiences. I can really set myself apart through providing the right customer experience or service. That’s why Broadway is a good fit for me as a family-owned bank that goes back 75 years, cornering the market on treating the customers and community right.”

Hartlage loves San Antonio as a wonderful and diverse city. “I am amazed how San Antonio continues to grow, but maintain a small city atmosphere and culture,” she said. She believes it is a great place for her and her husband to raise their three daughters, and also experience cultural diversity, sports, entertainment and arts.

She is presently a volunteer for Snack Pak 4 Kids, a provider of weekend food supplements to serve the needs of chronically hungry children. She also served on the board of Respite Care and is an active member of Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW).

By SHARI BIEDIGER

PHOTOGRAPHY By KRISTIAN JAIME