At CBA LIVE, Jennifer Roberts, CEO of Consumer Banking at Chase, Highlights How Bankers Are Connecting with Communities, Changing Lives

March 29, 2023

The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) continued retail banking’s premier annual event – CBA LIVE –with thought-provoking panel discussions and keynote addresses by industry experts.

CBA LIVE attendees today heard from Jennifer Roberts, CEO of Consumer Banking at Chase Bank, who spoke on how the bank is meeting the evolving needs of the people and communities they serve.

On the role of brick-and-mortar branches in an increasingly digital world: 

"There’s a myth that people don’t use branches anymore, that with digital and so many transactions going online, there isn’t a need. But I know that everyone in this room knows that that couldn’t be further from the truth. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in this role, it’s that our customers in particular love our branches. We actually look at them like 4,800 small businesses. We think about them as the storefront for our entire firm, and they’re key to how we establish and retain customer relationships. In fact, more than 75% of our balances are still held by customers who regularly visit our branches.” 

On the key role bank employees play in developing relationships with customers: 

"One of the things that we like to try to do is make sure our employees understand their greater purpose. They’re not just there for whatever the [immediate] interaction is, it’s about building that relationship over the course of time. And when people feel more connected to that greater purpose, they're going to want to stay and continue to do more and more and more.”

Regarding banks’ impact on the economy and employee retention:

“Starting with the purpose, making sure people understand that they can evolve, they don’t have to be stagnant and that this industry as a whole does great things for the economy, does great things for communities, does great things for individuals. And I think when people feel that connection, they want to say, as in our industry and as part of our organization.”

On employee growth and her own experience – going from call center representative to CEO: 

“We are trying to hire people that want to have longer-term, evolving careers like mine, where they can work in different lines of business. They can understand the broader business from multiple perspectives, and they can change and evolve as the organization changes and evolves. Twenty-six years ago, I started as a call center rep at Citibank when I was 17 years old. So, it can happen, and I try to tell those stories to our employees.”

Panel Discussion on People and Purpose feat. CBA Board

On Tuesday, CBA Board Members discussed leadership in banking, and how to continue meeting consumer demands while also cultivating a positive culture and diverse workforce built for the future. This panel featured: 

  • Tim Welsh, Vice Chair, Consumer and Business Banking, U.S. Bank 
  • Brant Standridge, President of Consumer and Business Banking, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated 
  • Cassandra McKinney, Senior Vice President, National Director of Retail Delivery and Strategic Services, Comerica

In discussing emerging expectations, Standridge referred to banking’s ability to make a difference in the lives of customers and businesses: 

“We invest our hearts and minds to power human potential. We’re trying to wake up every morning to make a difference in the lives of families and help businesses prosper. And I think it's really important that we talk about that and create […] a place that says, we are trying to make a positive difference in the world. That’s why we are here.”

Welsh emphasized the need for the industry to be bolder to meet consumer expectations and changing technology: 

“So interestingly, in the world that we live in – and it was Cassandra [who] outlined the value of being big – we have to be bold. It’s going to require us to do that. So how do you reward colleagues for being bold?” 

McKinney agreed: 

“It is what the ‘bigger possible’ is all about – it’s about innovation. It’s about being bold. It’s about the recognition that we can’t just continue to manage as we have before, and we can't continue to do things the way we’ve always done them, because we will get outpaced in this race that were in, in retail banking, in consumer banking.”

The panel also discussed the need to attract top talent, including workers from a broad range of backgrounds. Standridge highlighted the importance of diversity in attracting top talent, noting:

“It’s about interaction. If we’re going to attract the right type of talent as an industry going forward, being a part of an inclusive and diverse organization is what talent is going to want to be a part of. And we so it is a business imperative that we get this right and continue the journey and continue to learn.”

McKinney agreed: 

“The culture of your company really does matter. You must have a culture that embraces not only diversity but equity and inclusion. You’ve got to move from just looking at the attraction. But once you attract diverse talent, what is the inclusive environment that really allows them to stay, to be engaged and feel their value is appreciated as well as they have that opportunity to contribute in a way that that is also the case.”

In addition to these banking leaders, attendees heard from Joseph Mayans, Experian’s Director of U.S. Economics, about the state of the economy and its impact on the banking industry as well as Kristen Soltis Anderson, a political pollster, author, and CNN Contributor who discussed consumer and employee preferences among millennials and Gen-Z. 

What’s NEXT for the Economy 

Joseph Mayans, Director of U.S. Economics, Experian

On reasons for optimism: 

“Consumers continue to spend. If you go out on the Las Vegas Strip, people are going to restaurants. […] We have the strongest labor market probably in history over the last three months, the average job creation was about 350,000 a month. Prior to the pandemic, which was a very strong labor market, it was only about 177,000. Personal incomes are rising, people have jobs people will be able to spend and stay afloat. That’s a reason to be positive. [And states] now have the highest level of rainy-day funds that they’ve ever had.”

On reasons for caution: 

“There are some cracks starting to show consumers, right? Definitely inflation is impacting consumers, higher rates impact consumers. We see it in our delinquency data. Inflation remains very elevated. Year over year, the consumer price index was about 6%, core inflation about 5.5%. And the Fed’s goal is 2%. So, this is way in excess of the Fed’s goal, even though it’s coming down.” 

Lessons from Millennials and GenZers 

Kristen Soltis Anderson, Political Pollster, Author, CNN Contributor 

On Millennials’ opinions of the banking sector: 

“When we look at banking specifically by generation, there’s actually no generation divide. There is tons of data that I’ve shown you today that has huge gaps in how the generations think about things. And yet when it comes to thinking about banking and finance, actually the millennial generation is the most favorable in our survey.”

On Gen-Z and Millennials’ consumer habits: 

“In a survey I conducted at my firm just a couple of weeks ago, we took a look at an important question – which one do you agree with more: ‘The things I buy say a lot about who I am as a person’ or ‘the things I buy or what I like and need, but are not part of my identity.’ For baby boomers and for Gen Xers, overwhelmingly they’re saying I’m buying the stuff I like and need, but doesn’t mean anything about who I am. But for Generation Z and for millennials…a slim majority think that when they’re out making a purchase, it’s not just buying something that they need. It is making a statement about who they are…”

On younger generations expectations of industry: 

“…their own identity is more infused in different parts of their life and they than ever before, with that cross-pollination of the personal, the political, the consumer and more - - that increased focus on blending the personal with other arenas means identity is more central to everything they're doing, from what you buy to where you work. It's also a statement about what you value. As a result, they're expecting institutions that they engage with to embrace worthy values, which doesn't mean putting out a press release. It means putting in the work.” 


Entering its 14th year, CBA LIVE attracts the top leaders and influencers from across the country who gather to discuss the most pressing issues facing the retail banking industry. With more than 70 hours of dynamic programming and 14 forum sessions tailored to different bank segments, CBA LIVE offers key insights for professionals motivated to learn new trends and share ideas with the most influential decision makers in the business. To view press releases highlighting all three days of CBA LIVE 2023, click HEREHEREHERE, and HERE