Five Questions With: Fraser Ingram

Citizens Financial Group chief technology officer reflects on the past year while outlining his priorities for 2012. More

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Five Questions With: Fraser Ingram

COURTESY CITIZENS FINANCIAL GROUP
"AT THE end of the day, our job is to help the bank anticipate where our customers are going and how technology can help us meet their needs, and the pace of innovation today makes this very interesting work," said Fraser Ingram, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Citizens Financial Group Inc.
Posted 2/1/12

Editors Note: This is the second of a five-part series interviewing the top technology people at Rhode Island’s biggest IT employers.

Fraser Ingram was named executive vice president and chief technology officer for Citizens Financial Group Inc. in November 2009. He started his career with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Citizens’ parent company, in 1984 and has worked in a number of business lines including retail, human resources, strategy, operations, wealth management and technology. Prior to his current role, he was chief technology officer for RBS overseeing the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.

Citizens Financial Group, with more than 600 information technology professionals in Rhode Island, ranked No. 4 on PBN’s Book of Lists’ Rhode Island CIOs list.

During a recent interview, Ingram reflected on 2011 and outlined his vision for 2012.

PBN: What is the size and scope of your position and how does it differentiate from the traditional CTO role?

INGRAM: I oversee all technology for Citizens Financial Group. My team builds and maintains the systems that our customers use and that our colleagues use to serve customers. I believe that the work that we do relates directly to the quality of the customer experience.

Our customers are interacting with our technology in branches, via our 24/7 phone service, at our ATMs, on their mobile phones and online. We work with every department across the bank, and while our work is very technical, it is always tied very closely to our No. 1 goal of delivering a superior customer experience. Thus, customer service ranges from individuals to small businesses to large corporations, so as you might imagine, we are working on a wide range of technologies at any given time, and a lot of our systems are in use 24 hours a day.

I worked for many years in traditional banking, so I look at technology very much with a customer-focused perspective as opposed to a strictly technology-focused perspective. At the end of the day, technology enables Citizens Bank to work more efficiently and effectively with our customers. When my team helps improve the way we support and help our customers, I know we are making a difference.

PBN: How does your role fit within the Royal Bank of Scotland Group? What challenges are unique to an international financial services group?

INGRAM: In addition to managing technology here at Citizens Financial Group, I am a member of the Global Technology Leadership Team for RBS. This team runs IT for the entire group and is focused on building capabilities across a global organization. In a way, this is the kind of thing that really sets us apart as a bank – we have strong roots in the communities we serve but we also offer the capabilities of a global bank. The services we support range from local mortgage applications through our videoconferencing pilot to helping a local company conduct transactions in China and everything in between.

PBN: What interesting IT projects are underway at Citizens currently?

INGRAM: We typically have hundreds of IT projects underway at any given time. Some of the more interesting enhancements underway right now are designed to make it easier for our tellers to deliver even faster, more responsive service to customers in our branches. Again, our customers also include small businesses and large corporations, so other projects underway are directed at helping those customers apply for business or commercial loans and manage their finances.

PBN: What were the major milestones for Citizens in 2011?

INGRAM: I was very pleased by the IT team’s ability last year to implement new technologies across the bank while maintaining a consistent level of service for our customers. We remain focused on delivering this same level of service for our customers and our colleagues in 2012. It’s hard work but I think we all find it very rewarding to see customers benefitting from the technologies that we have helped make possible.

PBN: What general tech trends do you see developing in the banking world in 2012?

INGRAM: This is a time of incredible innovation, with mobile and other technologies allowing consumers – and businesses – to interact in new ways with each other and with the products and services they use. This is something that we see as an opportunity to make banking even more convenient for our customers. We launched an iPhone app last year and have an Android app in the works for our consumer mobile banking customers. At the end of the day, our job is to help the bank anticipate where our customers are going and how technology can help us meet their needs, and the pace of innovation today makes this very interesting work.

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