ATB wel­comes cut­ting-edge ideas

Calgary Herald - - CITY - SHANNON SUTHER­LAND-SMITH THIS FEA­TURE WAS CRE­ATED BY CON­TENT WORKS, POST­MEDIA’S COM­MER­CIAL CON­TENT DI­VI­SION, ON BE­HALF OF CALGARY ECO­NOMIC DE­VEL­OP­MENT.

In a world where bank­ing pro­fes­sion­als of­ten shift un­com­fort­ably in their seats as po­ten­tial clients use terms and phrases like “tech startup” or “in­tan­gi­ble as­sets,” ATB team mem­bers lean in.

“We want to hear from our tech com­mu­nity. We see our role as that of a cat­a­lyst to help cre­ate a stronger tech­nol­ogy com­mu­nity in Al­berta,” says Welling­ton Hol­brook, chief trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer at ATB Fi­nan­cial.

“We want to find the small com­pa­nies that have ex­cit­ing ideas and big plans but are work­ing out of the garage of their home or the trunk of their car, and we want to come along­side them.”

He says that tra­di­tion­ally, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions have been very risk averse.

“But if we don’t take some risks, we are miss­ing out on some po­ten­tially amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he says.

ATB Fi­nan­cial has been op­er­at­ing for 79 years, grow­ing from one small branch to be­come the largest Al­bertabased fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion in the province, with as­sets of al­most $50 bil­lion.

ATB boasts a net­work of 173 branches, 143 agen­cies, a Cus­tomer Care Cen­tre, two En­tre­pre­neur Cen­tres, along with mo­bile/on­line bank­ing and a vir­tual as­sis­tant.

More than 5,300 team mem­bers help over 755,000 cus­tomers in 247 com­mu­ni­ties.

But while fi­nances and num­bers will al­ways be linked, dig­its do not de­fine this firm.

“At the in­di­vid­ual level, our goal is to just do right by peo­ple,” says Hol­brook. “Whether it’s our em­ploy­ees or our clients, we want them in the best po­si­tion pos­si­ble to suc­ceed, and there is no for­mula for that.”

For in­stance, ATB’s jour­ney with tech firm Finn.ai has shown that pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships don’t al­ways end up where one ex­pects they­will.

Finn.ai is a per­sonal bank­ing and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment as­sis­tant pow­ered by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, and ATB has not only be­come an ally, it is also a client.

“If that doesn’t say some­thing about how much we be­lieve in a busi­ness, I don’t know what does,” says Hol­brook with a laugh. “It is a great ex­am­ple, though, of how, as we work with a client, we of­ten end up do­ing a lot of learn­ing our­selves.”

ATB team mem­bers are par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nated with trans­for­ma­tional tech­nolo­gies such as AI and ro­bot­ics.

“We def­i­nitely have bots at work at ATB, help­ing us han­dle some of the work that our peo­ple are too smart and too tal­ented to be busy with,” says Hol­brook.

“They are noth­ing to fear, be­cause they are just help­ing us max­i­mize the value of hu­man in­tel­li­gence. They free up our tal­ent from busy work like shar­ing in­for­ma­tion, hand­ing off doc­u­ments or en­gag­ing in pro­cesses that don’t re­quire hu­man in­tel­li­gence.”

He also says it is help­ing ATB bet­ter un­der­stand and use team mem­bers’ gifts and abil­i­ties in other ways.

“The way we com­mu­ni­cate changes when we lever­age tech­nol­ogy ap­pro­pri­ately,” says Hol­brook. “We have 5,300 team mem­bers work­ing at the same time, and many have great ideas, but we want to make sure it’s not just the loud­est per­son in the room who gets to bring those ideas to the ta­ble.”

They also want to con­tinue to en­sure po­ten­tial clients have a voice and au­di­ence with ATB.

“This is a call to our tech com­mu­nity here in Al­berta,” says Hol­brook. “Our doors are open.”

In­di­vid­u­als pas­sion­ate about in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy are in­vited to join ATB’s Trans­for­ma­tion Tal­ent Com­mu­nity on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/ATBTrans­forms to start their trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney.

We want to find the small com­pa­nies that have ex­cit­ing ideas and big plans.

WILANDRUSCHAK

Welling­ton Hol­brook is chief trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer at ATB Fi­nan­cial.

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