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Barefoot Innovation Podcast

Sep 15, 2015

Richard Davis grew up in Hollywood and entered the banking world on his 18th birthday as a teller. Today, at age 57, he leads America’s 5th largest bank as Chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp – parent company of U.S. Bank. Headquartered in Minneapolis, U.S. Bancorp has over $410 billion in assets and businesses across the United States, Canada and Europe, including over 3,000 full-service banking offices and 5,000 ATMs in 25 states.

This traditional bank model is now also the foundation for active innovation. U.S. Bank appointed its Chief Innovation Officer, Dominic Venturo, a decade ago (I highly recommend following Dominic on Twitter @innov8tr). They are active in payments technologies, and the holding company owns Elavon, which recently opened a mobile innovation center in Atlanta called “The Grove” focused on “new technologies that enable merchants to accept payments via mobile devices while also ensuring the ease of use and safety of the transaction from the customer’s perspective.”

Richard’s leadership earned praise through the financial crisis and its aftermath, including being named “2010 Banker of the Year” by American Banker. The father of three adult children and with three grandkids, he is highly active in civic efforts and philanthropy, including serving on the boards of the Twin Cities YMCA, Minneapolis Art Institute, University of Minnesota Foundation, and National American Red Cross, among many others. He has been the recipient of the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award, while U.S. Bancorp and its employees earned the 2011 Spirit of America Award, the highest honor bestowed on a company by United Way. The company also received the 2013 Freedom award, the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest award for employers for supporting employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

In 2011 Richard received the Henrickson’s Award for Ethical Leadership. In 2015, U.S. Bank was named as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

In my conversation with Richard, he wove together all these themes of business, innovation, and ethics. More than any of our guests thus far, he voices a full-throated faith in the future of retail bank banking -- including branches in lower-income communities. At the same time, he speaks thoughtfully about the need for innovation in the branch and beyond (while warning against falling in love with every new idea).  

He also offers concrete advice for regulators on how to assure that innovation can flourish. And he talks inspiringly about the need for banks to rebuild the public’s trust in them, one customer at a time. He says customers are “the banks’ to lose,” and that, “If it’s good for the industry, it is probably worth doing.”

Richard’s perspective is an invaluable contribution to our search for better consumer financial solutions. Speaking from the vantage point of a lifelong banker at the helm of one of America’s largest and most successful banking companies, he shares his thinking about what to keep and what to change, as the industry and its customers face continuous change.

For more on U.S. Bank, click here.

Enjoy Episode 12

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