Banking & Finance

Our team of experienced banking recruiters play in this space all day.

On the JSG blog, they offer their insights into the industry, hiring, & what’s to come.


Financial Institutions Must Change to Attract Millennials


Millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce today. Banks and credit unions must change the way they attract and retain talent, especially when it comes to Millennials. Many Baby Boomers are reaching the retirement age. In fact, 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring per day. Millennials are stepping in to fill that void. By 2025, it’s expected that Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. With Millennials responsible for such a large percentage of the workforce, banks and credit unions must change to accommodate them.

The 2018 Bank Director Compensation Survey shows that about 83 percent of banks have changed their approach to attracting and retaining young talent. Those who haven’t adapted to the change have attributed this to one single issue: Millennials consider the culture of financial institutions to be too traditional.

Ask your Millennial employees for input

Millennials are looking for employers who share the same social values as they do. In other words, they are looking for companies that add value to society and positively impact the lives of others. The best way to understand how to transform a company culture to be more “meaningful” is to ask your Millennial employees for their thoughts and ideas.

What better way to understand what appeals to Millennials than asking them directly? The younger generation loves to be involved in the decision-making process in their workplaces. They keep a pulse on social activities, charitable causes, and events that will help their local communities prosper.

How to reach this generation

It’s no secret: most Millennials can be found at any point of the day with some sort of digital device within arm’s length. Social media has changed the way financial institutions market to consumers as well as the way they operate. In order to be competitive in the marketplace, being up-to-date with technology and digital resources are going to be a huge factor in attracting and retaining Millennials.

The Millennial stereotypes

Over the last decade, you’ve heard the negative stereotypes of Millennials. For example, they’re lazy, disloyal, entitled, and expect a trophy for everything they do. However, instead of having a negative perception, think of how their mindset can change the way you do business and the opportunity to adapt to this ever-changing digital age. Look at them as collaborative employees, eager to learn new skills; they’re typically extremely adaptable to change and open to new ideas. These are qualities that most Millennials possess in today’s workforce.

This change is inevitable

If companies can change their mindset about the younger generation and showcase a culture that adds value to society, they’re on the right track to attract the younger generation. And like it or not, Millennials are the dominant member of America’s workforce. So, if your organization can make the changes to attract this generation, you’ll be ahead of the competition!


Are You Struggling to Attract All-Star SBA BDOs?


The new year is upon us already. Man, 2018 sure flew by, didn’t it? SBA had another great year. All indicators two months ago were that 2019 is going to continue to be a great year as well. However, in the last couple of months, some things changed and it appears that SBA lending will slow a little.

Because the economy is still strong, business is exchanging hands and people are still willing to venture out on their own to open their own shingle. Those things will help the SBA space for 2019. I just read a couple headlines and predictions that by the end of 2019, we will be back in a recession. Now is the time to find the best shop that will continue to lend during a recession in the event that we are heading in that direction.

Finish your deals while you can

Many BDOs are looking for safer shops that are large and don’t have to sell the loans on the secondary. Most BDOs are trying to find the fit that can get their deals done. As I always tell all the BDOs and Managers, that if you’re at a shop that gets your deals done, you need to stay put. Unless there are other circumstances that are forcing you to leave.

If your bank is being bought by an institution that doesn’t really do SBA lending now, you probably need to find a new home before the deal finalizes or you might be holding a bag of deals that can’t get done at the new bank. As a recruiter, SBA is such a passion for me! Even though I’m not a lender, SBA is the backbone of the U.S., it’s fascinating to me. They drive growth, change, and innovation in the larger companies and support local economies immensely.

Ensure the deals are getting done

As a company, if you’re looking to retain your best talent, you need to make sure the credit side is great and the deals are getting done. If you are saying no too often, you will start losing your top producers and will only be able to capture C-quality talent. These producers talk a big game but don’t produce all that much. You want someone that talks to so many other banks that can help you with ideas on how to make things better for your BDOs without increasing the expense side of your budget.

I just worked with a new shop and helped them build an SBA program. They had some ideas but were way behind on deals and compensation structure. I worked with them and now they have a competitive structure. With this new structure, they captured a huge hitter that is getting SBA deals done. I also just worked with a Director of SBA for a top 100 7a shop in the nation. We worked together to change the incentive plan to be competitive, even if they decide to hold the loans.

Let’s work together

If you’re struggling to retain or capture talented BDO professionals, let’s have a conversation. I will work with you and your team to make your shop recruit your next all-star lender. Or if you are a BDO looking for your next home, reach out to me and let’s find you a shop where you can get your deals done efficiently.


The Must-Haves on a Resume in the Banking/Credit Union Industry


The financial services industry is ever-changing and so are the needs/requirements for the talent the institutions typically seek. Sure, there are some positions within financial services that require past banking experience. However, we’re going to take a look BEYOND experience and discuss the other details that you must include on your resume.


This may seem like a no-brainer; however including GPA, Cum Laude, or Dean’s list info can be very beneficial. Especially for those that have recently graduated. If you’re well into your career, this rule does not apply to you because your experience will speak for itself. Banks and Credit Unions also love to see any Banking-related certifications or degrees.


Listing your certifications or awards from either prior jobs or from school is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates that may be under consideration for the same role. There are a ton of certifications that are very desirable in the banking/financial services industry, such as CFA, FRM, CISA, or CRCM. Certifications illustrate your knowledge of the industry and show your dedication to the financial industry.

Volunteer Experience/Extra Curricular Activities

Many banks and credit unions have heavy community involvement. According to Her Campus Media, “Volunteerism can equip a student with ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills including technical, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership, to name a few. Most people who volunteer are devoted to a cause and can easily convey their enthusiasm via a natural narrative.” These qualities that you’ve gained from volunteering—communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and enthusiasm—are superb skills to have listed on your resume, cover letter, and other applications materials.

Specific Accomplishments

Accomplishments are important because it illustrates your contributions to your previous employer. When you’re detailing your accomplishments, make sure to be complete and precise in what you say. Use exact numbers or any sort of quantitative result when you can. These statements are very impactful as it shows the potential value you may add to the institution you’re applying with.

Banks and Credit Unions, obviously, are driven by numbers, most of the time. Whether it’s a dollar amount, a percentage of growth, money saved or decrease in error ratio, these are all great ways to make your resume stand out.


Now’s the Time for a Change in the Banking Industry


Now that the elections are done, we can get back to somewhat normalcy in our lives. Thank goodness! Those ads were getting really annoying on every radio station, billboard, and tv station constantly.

So, how is the banking industry going you ask? Great question. The recruiting in the banking/credit union space is fantastic, but not on all fronts. Overall, banks are hiring like crazy. They are expanding divisions, growing departments, and of course, replacing those that leave. Right now is the best time to be looking if you have been with your bank for some years and you are ready to grow even more in your career.

The banking industry is hot

This is fantastic for candidates that are looking to make a move before January 1st. The unemployment rate is at a 48-year low and the number of unemployed persons has declined by 449,000 workers. If you are in the banking industry, your options are abundant. But for hiring managers, this is a different story. Employers are struggling to find qualified candidates as the market gets tighter and tighter.

I wouldn’t recommend looking if you have been with your current organization for less than two years unless there are extenuating circumstances (bank changes credit box, leadership changes, bank selling, etc). 2018 was such a great year for growth. Banks are needing more people then they can find. Your skills are wanted and needed and you get to decide what you want to do.

Get the help you need before the new year

2019 will allow you to grow the way you want and put you in the place you need to be to grow into the next phase of your career. I have never been so excited about what lies ahead for the banking industry. As you are looking, answer that call from the recruiter; they might just have the opportunity that you are looking for. Reach out to me if you are looking for a change of scenery in 2019. I can help you find the next step in your career.

And if you’re a hiring manager and having a difficult time finding the candidates your organization needs, let’s have a conversation. I want to work with you to fill some of those vacant roles before the new year begins.

Banking Trends

Banking Trends Heading Into 2019

Banking Trends

With the end of the year fastly approaching, it’s hard to think that 2019 is right around the corner. Especially, because this year we’ve seen such a big growth in the banking industry. And well, in all career’s as a whole it’s been a record-breaking year. Even though it may be nerve-racking to think about next year, it looks like the trends we’re seeing now will continue.

In 2019, it looks like there are several trends financial institutions will continue to see into the new year. These are the three banking trends that are projected to grow throughout the 4th Quarter and into 2019 in the banking and financial services industry.

Customer Experience

Organizations will need to continue to keep up with the ever-changing digitization and needs by consumers. Consumers want easy access to their accounts and the flexibility to engage with the institutions when it’s convenient for them.

Consumers are geared more towards digital experiences rather than physical or in-person interactions, even when dealing with their money. Banks are closing branches at a higher rate than ever before. According to CBS, “Only 66 percent of Millennials visited a brick-and-mortar branch within the past six months, compared to 81 percent of Baby Boomers and 80 percent of Traditionalists.” To attract the younger generations, financial institutions must continue to innovate and enhance the user experience for all consumers.

Cybersecurity risks

As threats from hackers become more sophisticated, institutions will need to continue to be aware of these factors and try to anticipate the risk involved with the adaptation of new technologies. According to the Global Banking Outlook for 2018, banks and financial institutions place cybersecurity as their top priority for 2018. We anticipate this trend will continue to increase throughout 2019 as more and more banking functions digitalize.

Tight-talent market

There are more open positions than candidates on the market. Institutions will need to find new ways to attract and retain talent if they want to compete in the marketplace. According to Forbes, salary may not matter as much as employers think.

Yes, it is a big factor in whether a candidate will accept the position or not, but the culture of the company is crucial. Conveying the benefit of working for your institution and telling candidates why they should come work for you is an essential piece of attracting new candidates. No longer is it the bank picking the right candidate; in this tight job market, candidates are now picking the right institution for them.

Get the help you need

One thing that is for certain is the market is intense. And there are no indications of that changing as we get closer to entering the new year. If your banking or finance institution is struggling to attract qualified candidates to your organization, let’s have a conversation. I can help your team find the right candidates that are ready to make an immediate impact on your bottom line.

industries in review

JSG’s Industries in Review: Looking Towards 4th Quarter and Beyond

industries in review

It’s officially the 4th Quarter of the year. The labor market is as strong as it has been in almost two decades. With current projections of 3.1 percent growth for the U.S. economy for 2019, it doesn’t look like the job market will be slowing down anytime soon. We sat down with Johnson Search Group’s divisional managers to hear their thoughts on our candidate-driven market and the challenges their teams face moving into 4th Quarter and even 2019.

Mining in Review

Dana Belstler, Mining Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Mining industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

The mining industry is on fire. The Permian Basin is expanding faster than talent can be brought in and mining companies across the U.S. are growing. Frac sand companies are opening multiple new plants across the country. Even the gas and oil companies are getting into the frac sand business. Since October 2016, the Mining industry has added a total of 104,000 jobs; 6,000 jobs were added in the month of August alone. It’s a good time to be in mining, and I see this growth trend continuing into and throughout 2019!

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

Candidates are in the driver’s seat, without a doubt. With 6.7 million job openings and only 6.3 million people to fill them, the disparity is glaring. The mining team at JSG has noticed that candidates are becoming more selective with the opportunities they will consider. They are sticking to their guns on salary requirements and many are choosing to not relocate. This is where our partnership with our clients and our understanding of who they are and their vision for the future, comes into play. We take the time to educate the candidates on the companies; My team shares the company’s vision and helps them visualize how their career could grow. We are truly matchmakers, and our goal is to make both our client’s and candidate’s happy with their mutual decisions.


Tracey Smith, Healthcare Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Healthcare industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

Technology is being integrated more often to meet many of the challenges faced with additional patient load and regulations; that includes addressing organizational planning, patient outcomes, and protection of health information. Technology has become a huge part of healthcare and I see it continuing to be this way. Although, this can be both good and bad and it may create unforeseen challenges when there aren’t enough people to address the need. And this is especially true when we are so reliant on technology to fill this need. One example we addressed in a recent blog discusses the human difference compared to the technology of applicant tracking systems. This illustrates how technology differs from the human touch, but it’s certainly needed because of how rapidly the Healthcare industry is growing!

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

With Healthcare becoming the number one employer in the U.S., hiring managers are becoming busier than ever. Finding time for interviews is a huge challenge for many hiring managers. Which is why now is the best time to be working for a recruiting firm whose process is concise like ours. This includes us doing all the initial interviews, so we can get to the very best talent. This helps to not waste hiring managers’ valuable time, that could end up taking away from patient care.


Tracy Isakson, Banking Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Banking industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

All things are looking very busy. The fed rate will rise again, but the economy appears so good, it will most likely only create a small hiccup in the future. With that being said, banks and financial institutions are busier than ever. We will also see more mergers and acquisitions activity as institutions are looking for strategic growth.

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

We are seeing candidates who are ready to make a move today. When a candidate is ready to find a new career opportunity, they are getting in contact with three, four, or even five institutions that are all wanting to hire them. Some banks are not making hiring a priority which is causing them to lose great talent. When they take weeks to ask great candidates for an interview they are leaving the door open for another institution to move in on the candidate. This creates a problem for banks who need to fill their critical roles quickly because they lose out on great candidates to the competition. It’s essential that financial institutions are moving quickly in this tight job market.

Let’s work together

4th Quarter is among us, and many organizations are looking to add talented candidates to their teams. If you are struggling to fill open positions in this tight market, you’re not alone. Reach out to us and let’s have a conversation. We can help you find the talent your organization needs as we quickly approach the new year.

job market

How to Capture Talent in The Commercial Lending & SBA Space

job market

The recruiting market in the Commercial Lending/SBA space is on fire. Banks are desperately scrambling to capitalize on the small business growth in the market. Every bank and credit union today is looking for growth in this space. If you want to capture top talent for your financial institution, you must be willing to be flexible with your hiring process and budget.

Have an efficient hiring process

Make sure you are prepared to interview and hire that talent in very little time. With the job market so hot, the “A-players” are off the market in as little as five days. For example, I recently placed a $20 million SBA BDO candidate to a bank and they went through the interviewing process and hiring process all within four days.

My client knew that if they didn’t move quickly, they would have to compete with other institutions, and as a result, could be faced with a bidding war. And when that happens, the candidate often decides to not accept the offer. In other words, you have to be confident in the criteria you are looking for in a candidate.

You have to pay to play

Talent today costs money, and sometimes BIG money. Candidates that are producing big results and really moving the bottom line are being highly compensated. That means you need to be ready to fork over the top end of your salary range, and sometimes, even expanding that range. Because of our candidate-driven market, banks and credit unions are going to have critical job openings open longer if they aren’t willing to make some adjustments. As a result, traditional recruiting methods aren’t as effective. To keep the top talent interested, you have to be willing to pay them well.

We work with our clients to help them move that needle as needed. However, with a top-tier recruiter, they can still find those hidden gems. The best candidates are becoming harder to find, but they are not completely out of reach. Pay for performance is a trend we are seeing more and more, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

To hire (and retain) the talent your organization so gravely needs, it may be time to work with a professional. The best candidates are the ones that are not even on the market. If you want the best candidates that are ready to make an impact on your company, it may be time to partner with a recruiter that specializes in your field.

Let’s work together

digital age

How the Digital Age is Influencing Financial Institutions

digital age

In the world of IT, data security is a big deal. What is interesting is that according to a recent article in Forbes, financial institutions have established a comfort level with customers, more so than many other industries. Of course, we have been sharing sensitive information with our bank since we opened our first savings account.

However, we are starting to understand the value of our information and asking for more benefits in relation to the data we share. Better interest rates, a wider range of loan offers, even simple recognition demands are expected.

The Digital Age is demanding more integration

Millennials are considered more “tech-savvy” and growing up in the Digital Age is encouraging them to demand more innovative financial services. They want more convenience; they want more integration and features from their phones, or any device, that they carry.

However, it isn’t as simple as you may imagine. The younger generation wants to know that their data is safe, and when there is a problem, they want someone in-person to fix it and fix it now. Mobile features are important, but customers of all ages and demographics still want human interaction.

For example, a bank may offer multiple products and services, depending on the type and size of a business. Consumers are capable of searching a website or mobile app to access these offerings; however, this will never replace the human touch that builds trust and security. Technology is wonderful with training and complicated plumbing without. The physical banking branches thrive in a high tech and high touch environment.

How data is shaping financial institutions

The ability of consumers to trust their bank with personal data protection is what drives loyalty in the financial industry. Security, responsive service, and easy access to the branch (and its features) are important to every generation. In fact, according to the 2018 Cybersecurity Market Report, banks are doubling their spending budgets to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. And a lot of this budget is going towards fintech candidates.

Sharing data benefits consumers, but we must remember that it also can leave us vulnerable if not properly protected. Banks continue to grapple with these challenges and look to solve these issues by better understanding the data we share. This creates opportunities and new jobs in many areas that keep expanding as fast as technology itself. There’s a huge shortage of manpower with a lack of people with the necessary skillsets. This is changing the recruitment process of financial institutions, forcing them to rely on recruitment headhunting to find the talent needed to improve integration and ensure consumer data protection.

Three Must-Have Skills Necessary to be Successful in the IT Field

The IT industry is continuously evolving, especially within the banking and financial services industry. IT and Banking are both heavily influenced by the economy and today’s younger generation. The demand for instant results and greater access to banking at consumers’ fingertips is in high demand.

These are the skill-sets necessary to have a successful career in the IT world within the financial services industry.

Flexibility and adaptability

This is a crucial part of the IT industry. Since the digital age is upon us, IT professionals need to be able to adapt quickly to changes and have the vision for what the future looks like. Since consumers are driving the change. According to, “72% of Millennial consumers are optimistic about tech advancements in banking, saying they will positively impact their relationships with banks by 2020.”

Young adults’ demand for more technological integration into the banking and financial landscape, since it is constantly changing the IT environment. If you are not flexible and ready for change, you will be left in the dust.

Deliver multi-channel integration

Gone are the days where customers are forced to use multiple channels to complete any transaction with their bank. Year’s ago if a consumer needed to make a deposit, they would have to visit a branch or drive to an ATM. And if they wanted to check their balance they would have to call customer service. However, nowadays institutions are making it easier for consumers to complete most transactions online or within the branch, AKA establishing a multi-channel integration.

User experience is very heavily weighted on the accommodation and accessibility of the banking institution. Having multi-channel integration is a cost-effective way for banks to allow the necessary accessibility for its consumers. If IT professionals are unable to offer new interactions for consumers, they will leave for another bank, that makes their lives more convenient.


PMP- Project Management Professional

This certification is transferable across all industries. In a recent survey, the PMP certification was regarded as the highest paying certification. Recipients make on average of 15% more than someone without their PMP.

CISSP- Certified Information Systems Security Professional

This certification is listed as the third highest paying certifications in IT. Security and risk management are one of the biggest threats to banks these days. Organizations want to hire IT personnel that will help ensure the safety and protection of consumer’s information.

CISA- Certified Information Systems Auditor

The average salary for CISA holders is $106k. The CISA certification is often mandatory in the IT sector; hiring managers are interested in candidates that can assess and prevent potential risks.  With recent data breaches in organizations across the board, hiring managers want to ensure their IT candidates have their privacy protection in their best interest.

As IT professions grow in all fields, especially banking and financial services, it’s important to remember how impactful these jobs are. These positions are changing the job landscape because of our reliance on computers and technology. If IT is something you’re passionate about, there are tons of different opportunities for you. Specifically, with the banking and financial services field.

coolest banking facts

The Coolest Banking Facts

coolest banking facts

Banks and financial institutions have been around for centuries. Every bank offers the same essential services, however, not every bank is exactly the same. Some offer their clients unique features while others are rich in history. Here are some of the coolest banking facts from across the world.

Coolest banking facts:

  • The banking institution with the most branches is Agriculture Bank of China. This bank is the largest financial institution in the world with a total of 441,144 employees and over 24,000 branches. Agriculture Bank of Chines is headquartered in Beijing and was founded in 1951.
  • The largest fine/settlement by a bank in the U.S. was a whopping $16.65 billion from Bank of America. This was the largest settlement in U.S. history between the U.S. government and a corporation. The settlement is derived from the housing crisis where mortgage-backed securities were not as financially sound as investors led to believe. This dwarfs the few fines Wells Fargo has received in recent years.
  • The oldest bank in the world is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) in Italy. BMPS was founded in 1472. That’s 546 years old! BMPS is actually Italy’s second fourth largest commercial and retail bank with over 2,000 branches.
  • The oldest bank in the United States is Bank of New York-Mellon (BNY). BNY was founded on June 9, 1774, by our former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. This makes the bank 244 years old! The BNY actually provided the U.S. government with its first loan in 1789 and was the first company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • The most thrill-seeking banking branch is the ‘Skyslide’ attached to the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. The tower is the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago and is a staggering 1,018 feet tall. The building has a 45-foot long glass slide from the 70th to the 69th floor that is on the OUTSIDE of the building. Can you image sliding down a glass slide over 1,000 feet above downtown LA?
  • In 2008, Washington Mutual (WAMU) became the largest bank to go under, as it succumbed to a severe financial crisis. after the FDIC seized WAMU assets, it settled a deal with JPMorgan to acquire the bank for a measly $1.9 billion. When it went under, WAMU had assets totaling $307 billion and deposits of $188 billion.
  • The only state-owned bank in the U.S. is the Bank of North Dakota (BND). BND is based in Bismarck, North Dakota. The bank was founded in 1919 and has assets totaling $7.3 billion.
  • The only bank with a direct phone line to the CEO at every branch is Umpqua Bank. Umpqua touts itself as “the world’s greatest bank” and believes it’s essential that each branch has a direct line to the CEO to build trust.

Banks are one of the true mainstays of our society. What are some of the cool features you’ve seen banks do to stand out from the crowd?