Personal growth July 11, 2021 By
Did you ever think you would hear a bank talking about elevating 10 million lives or that it can run on Love? These are exactly some of the reasons why Aaron Frydman, CIO, joined First United Bank. He is on a mission to heighten the customer experience, deeper relationships and make technology a key factor in meeting the organizations goals, but maybe not in some of the ways you would typically think.
I sat down with Aaron Frydman in May of 2021 to talk about his first 6 months in the role and why he thinks people, technology and First United Bank’s concept to Spend Life Wisely will make all the difference as they build for the future.
Why did you join First United Bank?
The biggest reason I joined First United was because the values of the company aligned with my own. It was very important for me to join an organization that prioritized helping others. First United through its pillars of Faith, Health and Wellness, Personal Growth, and Financial Well-Being seeks to improve the lives of its customers and employees, far more than what I would consider other companies which are often more bottom line oriented. We are what I like to think of as a whole customer and whole employee-oriented company. I was additionally drawn to First United by the great work that I knew we were going to do as the company continues to grow. First United is at an interesting stage where technology continues to be an ever more important component to how we can deepen customer relationships and improve user experiences in our community banks and digital channels.
The IT / Digital Transformation Team is focused on serving others through technology and solving meaningful problems. Why is this a focus at First United Bank?
This is a relationship-oriented company, so our focus is on how we can use technology through means like our digital channels and data intelligence to deepen relationships with our customers. Think of it as extending our community bank experience to a mobile or desktop application or really whatever channel our customer may want whenever they want it. If a customer wants to do banking on their phone at 3:00 o'clock in the morning; we want to provide them a frictionless, awesome user experience to do that. We also want all of those channels to be very connected so the way that they have been interacting with the teller at the community bank who they built a relationship with for 30 years is really just extended into that full First United ecosystem.
Digital Transformation is a focus for the organization. What does that transformation look like?
Key areas of our digital transformation include creating a fantastic user experience for our customers and employees; integrating all of the applications together so that they can work seamlessly across our environment; and using data intelligence in order to be able to provide insights to our customers.
Our 10-year vision is to elevate 10 million lives by 2030. What role will IT / Digital Transformation play in that?
Technology is a core component of our company’s vision to elevate 10 million lives. Foundationally, technology will allow us to scale our products and services to be able to meet the growing demand of our customer base. As we grow, we will not make compromises on reliability, availability, and security; and technology will be central to how we do this intelligently. As we diversify our products and services and find ways to deepen our relationship with the customer, use of technology will also support these goals by providing the customer with not only the channel whenever they want it and wherever they want it, but also by leveraging data to provide them with the insights that are most meaningful to them.
First United Bank has 4 pillars: Personal Development is one of those. What can a candidate for one of your open roles expect in a career path in IT here at First United Bank?
At First United we focus on personal development of the whole person as part of our core values of love and impact. We create individual development plans that are tailored to the career growth as well as personal growth objectives of our employees. We create these plans with clear goals and objectives and provide support to our employees to be able to meet those objectives throughout the year. Coaching for us is not a one or two time a year activity, we maintain and grow our mentoring relationships every day.
How does your team let off steam and have fun at work?
As we consider ourselves a work family, having fun and engaging with each other on a personal level is very important to us. We often have all hands meetings where we bring everybody together for food and fun, and most importantly, where we can hear the voice of each of our employees on how we can continuously get better as an organization. It's also important for us to recognize that everyone has fun in different ways, so we try to create outside the office activities that give people the flexibility to engage to the level they are comfortable with. I often marvel as I look back on the day and even though I got a tremendous amount of work done with the team, it truly felt like effortless effort.