With Janet Yellen now at the helm of the Federal Reserve, former Bank of America and Citigroup executive Sallie Krawcheck has plenty to say about women in the largest banks — and it’s not very optimistic.
Sallie Krawcheck, the owner of women’s network 85 Broads, appeared on Bloomberg Television early Wednesday. When asked why, with Yellen at the Fed and CEO Mary Barra running GM, there is no similar figure in banking, Krawcheck replied, “Well it’s not that we have even gone sideways as we have in corporate America, we’ve gone backwards.”
The reason? The crisis mentality on Wall Street.
“What I saw when I was on Wall Street is it’s not, well, let’s get rid of people who are different from us because they’ve got cooties. It’s more, yeah, I know the numbers around diversity and the diversity adds to business results in theory — but we are in a crisis mode, and I need that person who I can trust today.”
In other words, what “research shows [is that] when we’re under periods of stress, that person who you feel like, I see how that person can do the job, is typically someone who looks like you,” Krawcheck explained.
It’s worth noting that off-Wall Street banks like Wells Fargo (WFC) have women in high-level positions. Wells Fargo Advisors and the bank’s overall wealth management operation are led by Mary Mack. And Patricia Callahan serves as Wells’ chief administrative officer.
Krawcheck also points out that female clients “are unhappy with the financial services industry.”
They express this displeasure by leaving their financial advisors 70% of the time, she notes, often after her spouse dies or a divorce.
“And what we’ve found when I’ve done a ton of research on this, is that she will feel like the two of them [the male spouse and advisor] are talking to each other, and she feels that she’s outside that circle,” Krawcheck said. “So there’s an enormous opportunity in financial services, speaking to and solving problems for women.”