WILMINGTON – As M&T Bank seeks to continue growing its presence and market share in the Northeast, it has created a new top technology-focused role and hired a longtime Bank of America executive to fill it.
[caption id="attachment_225243" align="alignright" width="300"] Ishet Dhar | PHOTO COURTESY OF M&T BANK[/caption]
Ishet Dhar, who most recently served as senior vice president of digital consumer delivery at Bank of America, became M&T’s new chief digital officer on Aug. 10, but hasn’t had to move far. The banking veteran moved from Bank of America’s Wilmington offices after 17 years there to M&T’s, as his will be one of the few C-Suite level roles for M&T based in Delaware.“I’ve spent many, many years in Delaware; I love this place,” Dhar told Delaware Business Times in an interview this week. “There's no shortage of digital talent here. Wilmington has always been and will continue to be a huge player in the space.”Dhar said that he was interested to take on a top role at M&T because it focuses on using technology to make customers’ lives easier and because M&T has the resources to make that push while retaining its community bank feeling. He also was appreciative of M&T’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within the bank.In moving from BoA, Dhar also moved to a considerably smaller bank – from No. 2 to No. 26 by asset rankings, per federal banking records – but he said he was focused on helping M&T get bigger while still feeling small.“We’re a big regional bank right now, and as the bank grows how do we still maintain those conversations? How do we still maintain that community feel?” he said. “What really inspired me about M&T was the focus they have on the customer.”In his chief digital officer role, Dhar will lead the strategy, integration and transformation of M&T’s digital platforms, providing each customer with a seamless and personalized digital experience that spans and supports their full relationship across the bank. He will report to Head of Consumer and Business Banking and Marketing Christopher Kay and serve as a key member of the company’s leadership, which includes local market leader Nick Lambrow.“Ishet will supercharge our digital transformation at M&T, driving new technology innovation and experiences for our customers and communities,” Kay said in a statement announcing the hire. “He will be focused on delivering value for our customers, while giving our bankers the tools they need to be a source of support and guidance in the communities where we live and work. I am looking forward to what’s ahead under his leadership.”Dhar said that he was early into assessing M&T’s current strengths in terms of technology but noted that industry-wide the focus is turning digital.“I think the pandemic changed a lot of our customer behavior, so technology adoption is rapidly increasing. It's critical for all of us in financial services to be meeting what I would call “hygiene needs” of customers, like balances, deposits, checks, transfers, etc.,” he said. “Then we think about how to build on top of that to anticipate what a customer may need in the future. How do we support a customer in his or her life journey.”As technology becomes more widely adopted in consumer banking, Dhar expects that brick-and-mortar branches will become less transactional in design and more focused on customer relations.“It enables employees in the financial centers to be able to have more meaningful conversations with the customer,” he said of the advancements in financial technology.