This story is featured in the July issue of Seattle Business magazine. Subscribe here to access the print edition.
To say that Kristy Dickson has deep roots in the Seattle area would be an understatement.
She grew up in Everett and graduated from Mariner High School. She attended Shoreline Community College. She lives in Edmonds with her husband and children. Dickson is now U.S. Bank Seattle market leader for consumer and business banking, overseeing 75 branches and 500 bankers. The bank recently received multiple honors in the inau-gural 2021 Kiplinger Best Financial Customer Service rankings, earning the top honor for digital mortgage lending tools and being named the top lender for customers between the ages of 18 and 34.
“I know the market, the micromarket, intimately,” says Dickson, who has worked at U.S. Bank since 2009 following a six-year stint as a branch manager at Bank of America. “It’s a pleasure to have impact and give back in the market that I've lived in my whole life.”
Here is Dickson's interview with Seattle Business magazine.
Having a robust mobile app is so 2019. People don’t need to go into the branch anymore with direct deposit and bill pay.
Banking has been just a heavy paper, manual process for a very long time. You won't be able to stay relevant if you can't digitize almost every single aspect of the bank, even the most complex transactions.
If you had time, you did a lot of outreach maybe for your favorite customers, but now every customer that's in our portfolio gets a connection point. The biggest piece we've learned is a robust eﬀort around proactive customer outreach, which is going to be what keeps us relevant in their lives.
People find comfort with long-term rela-tionships. If a teller moves or gets promoted and they've been at that branch for any amount of time, I will get letters saying, where did this person go? Like, they've helped me. They've helped my family.
If you want cash or to make a deposit, there's some electronic systems in the branch, but there's a mortgage person. There's a personal banker. There's a credit repair person. There's a wealth person. That’s what the branches will start to look like and are transforming to right now.
Most people don't even know that banks oﬀer wealth management services.
Our current footprint, to be honest, was great for the 1980s. We need to redeﬁne it. Can we see and predict where this expansion and growth is going to be and meet them there when the communities start to rise?
We didn’t used to have market leaders. In my role, there's a requirement that you live in the market. We have 22 markets across the footprint. All of those have to live within the market where they work and hopefully have some intimate knowledge about that.
At a larger bank, there’s really a lack of au-tonomy. Having us just be a little bit smaller allows for much more autonomy to make real-time decisions, even on how we invest in the local community. It doesn't have to go through some massive marketing level all the way up to the top where the decision will get lost.
I've got an army of 500 people who get paid two days a year to volunteer, and lots of people love to volunteer for their communities without even getting paid.
If we’re going to be showing up in the community, it can be sliced diﬀerently. We sponsored a food truck and invited some of our own women- and minority-owned businesses to be in this food truck. And we were just going to drive around to downtown Seattle last summer and give away free food and highlight our business customers. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
So, we reached out to FareStart. Their culinary program had to stop because they couldn't bring the students in. So, we drove these food boxes to the homes of these 20 students for virtual cooking sessions. And they were all able to complete their sessions, graduate and obtain employment in the restaurant industry.
Six months ago, it seemed like every single building was boarded up downtown. This morning I was driving down and the coﬀee shop is open. Hey, that little bagel shop is open. Oh my gosh! There are people on the street today. It’s feeling good.
When do we get back to our in-person meet-ings? I've never had people more excited to drive in downtown traﬃc and pay for parking.
I had a long commute for several years. Traﬃc honestly does not bother me anymore. You have to just become one with it and embrace it. Otherwise, sitting in the car for four hours a day could ruin your life if you were averse to it.
I was born at joint base Lewis-McChord. My mom is from Germany and there are a lot of German restaurants in Tacoma that we frequented. We would drive (from Snohomish County) for the German food, go to the German grocery store and come right back.
I have one biological child. And now my partner in crime has three children. So, I have four in the house, which I never, ever thought would happen. I love children. I love babies.
I like exploring. Anything new. I don't care if we're ﬁnding a new restaurant, going on a new hike or driving to a new place.
It gives me a great amount of personal satisfaction to see others succeed.