Banks and credit unions feel the heat of a hot labor market

For Carole Shaull, senior vice president of human resources at Middlefield Banking Co., a community bank with around $ 1.4 billion in assets, a challenge is finding not only cashiers but also qualified people for more skill-based positions.

For entry-level jobs, banking is a little less selective than before.

“But it’s almost impossible to find someone to work in mortgages who will come into an office,” Shaull said. “With the competition, everyone is working remotely – so remotely, they could do the work from California. “

A shortage of staff for some positions results in long hours in situations where others must take over.

“On the mortgage side, we are making money there. But you have to close the loan very, very quickly, because if there is a real estate agent who presents the loan, he wants to close that loan and the buyer. wants to close this out as well as the seller, “Shaull said.” Sometimes that causes more pressure and longer hours for the mortgage department because they have to do it or we lose the deal. “

These challenges also arise for the big banks.

“I think we are in the same job market as everyone else,” said Chris Gorman, president and CEO of KeyCorp, which has $ 187 billion in assets. “The (effects) are particularly acute at the entry level.”

Key’s minimum wage is $ 15 an hour. But over the past year, salary has jumped to a range of $ 16 to $ 18 for positions in technology and operations centers, as well as branch offices.

But Key, PSE and Middlefield are competing in this market with companies like PNC Bank, whose minimum wage has been raised to $ 18. Then there’s Bank of America, which raised its minimum wage to $ 21, with plans to raise it to $ 25 by 2025.

But community banks and small and medium-sized credit unions face more workforce challenges than their larger counterparts, which have the advantage of larger size, scale. and greater brand recognition. Admittedly, small banks will have a hard time swallowing a minimum wage of $ 21.

“We do more work at a lower level than I would generally expect,” said Brian Rhonemus, Founder and CEO of the Rhônemus Group, a talent management and executive consultancy firm that is often recruited to fill executive positions at banks in Ohio and the Midwest.

A main problem, Rhonemus said, is whether or not they say it outwardly, many bank CEOs just want people to come back to the office. Some are mid-sized regional banks which would apparently be more likely to adopt virtual labor, compared to community banks which may also have difficulty getting people to work in rural markets.

Of course, companies that embrace remote working cast a wider net in the candidate pool. This can create additional challenges for banks where recruiting markets overlap like never before with their competitors. It can also create opportunities for those who might hire someone from another part of the country for a job that lends itself to remote work.

Rhonemus pointed to comments by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon last fall complaining of a lack of productivity among teleworkers, especially Mondays and Fridays. This is a point of view that some leaders reject, but with which others strongly subscribe.

“I have CEOs who say, ‘I don’t telecommute; I don’t want hybrid employees; I don’t want telecommuters,'” said Rhônemus. “I would say they’ve become pretty resistant to all this homework.”

On the other end of the hiring spectrum, Rhônemus said he had mid-career candidates for certain positions who would not accept a job offer that does not allow remote working, or at least one. good flexibility there.

“If you’re a C-level banker, you have more influence today and you might think you can be more picky,” he said. “We talk to candidates week after week who say, ‘If there’s no hybrid component, don’t call me.’ That’s between $ 150,000 and $ 300,000 in base salary. “

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