Where Are They Now: Cathy Bessant - Event Marketer

Where Are They Now: Cathy Bessant

May 2005

Bank of America

Back then: Two years ago Bank of America was on a growth jag beefing up consumer capabilities bolstering commercial lines of business and enhancing rate derivatives and equity products—and dialing up its marketing tools under cmo Cathy Bessant.

Now: Much has changed since then: Bessant now leads the bank’s global treasury services. Anne Finucane formerly of FleetBoston Financial serves as cmo. She updates us on what else is new at the “Bank of Opportunity”:

What’s changed since the story?
We have more than doubled in size from 24 million to 57 million households. We are the No. 1 credit card in the nation and in the U.K. the No. 1 small business bank and the No. 1 private bank. We have 50 percent more affluent customers than we had only three or four years earlier. As a result in February 2007 we set off to deploy “Bank of Opportunity ” the company’s first brand repositioning in several years which addresses the company’s transition to the nation’s only true coast-to-coast bank.

What is your biggest marketing challenge going into 2008?
There will always be new challenges in the financial-services industry. The current turmoil in the economy and in the capital markets challenges our business. And because of the continued consolidation in our industry and broadening of products services and delivery channels competition has escalated. So what challenges us as marketers is to continuously align our efforts to support the constantly changing nature of our business to support and accelerate organic growth for our company. That requires us to distinguish ourselves from the competition by leveraging our size and scale our unique ability to anticipate customer needs our innovative effective marketing and our ability to execute with operational excellence.

What is the company’s biggest achievement since we profiled B of A?
There are so many to consider. From the introduction of innovative new products and services like Keep the Change No Fee Mortgage Plus Zero Dollar Equity Trades and Mobile Banking to strategic acquisitions like MBNA and U.S. Trust to the launch of our $20 billion environmental initiative. Our 200 000 associates have a lot to be proud of. But I would say the tremendous growth that our company has enjoyed reflects all our achievements and the opportunities we’ve been able to create for our customers shareholders associates and communities as a result of our competitive advantage. 

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