By W.B. King
In what is a recurring feature, Finopotamus spotlights innovative women who are positively impacting technology applications in the credit union industry, and beyond.
For this issue, we spent time with nCino’s Chief Product Officer Trisha Price. The Wilmington, N.C.-based company offers a single end-to-end digital banking platform that is flexible, scalable and designed to help reduce costs by improving employee efficiency and productivity across onboarding, loans and deposits, while enhancing the customer experience and ensuring regulatory compliance.
Graduating from North Carolina State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, Trisha Price entered the workforce during a period she referred to as the “tech bubble boom.” She accepted a position as an information systems professional with Milliken & Company where she would spend three years before moving on to John Hancock Financial Services working as technology lead.
During the early years of her career, Price honed her skills on financial modeling projects and solving related economic problems with the technologies of the time. From these experiences, she “fell in love with the financial services industry.” But when she looked to her left and right, she didn’t see too many other women in similar roles.
“I’ve been in technology and financial services for almost three decades, so it probably won’t surprise anyone when I say I’ve always been the minority in the room,” Price reflected. “That can have a negative or positive impact on a person, but for me it’s fueled my drive for success and pushed me to bring more diverse voices to the table, which includes women.”
While working at John Hancock Financial Services, Price also earned a Master of Science in software engineering from Harvard University. From there she worked as a fixed income development manager for Eagle Investment Systems before moving into the role of director of securities accounting at Fannie Mae. And before landing at nCino in 2016 as executive vice president of product development and engineering, she was head of global sales for Primatics Financial.
When reflecting on her career in relation to how women are viewed in the tech space, Price said it’s been an evolutionary process.
“While there’s been some great progress in the industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. I feel blessed for the chance nCino has given me to mentor and create opportunities for those who have been underrepresented,” said Price, who assumed her current role as chief product officer in 2019.
For many executives, there often is an inspirational person who championed them on their professional journey. In Price’s case, a family member gave her the confidence and courage to face known and unknown challenges.
“My uncle was always the person who encouraged me and was my mentor,” she said. “He was an executive at a Fortune 500 company and a board member and helped me understand the hard work and sacrifice it takes to become an executive, but also how rewarding it is.”
Hustling in Comfort
Looking back over her career trajectory, Price said there has been a “huge shift” in workplace culture. The once “boasted about” 80-hour work weeks and “rise and grind” beliefs have changed, or at least they have changed from her current vantage point.
“At nCino, we believe software teams don’t need to choose between providing a great workplace or pushing hard to build great products; they can do both. We call that balance ‘hustling in comfort’,” said Price, adding that this ethos is among reasons that American Banker designated nCino as the Number One Best Fintech to Work For in 2019.
And when speaking about nCino’s culture, she said it’s not necessarily about “Nerf wars, ping-pong tables and flip flops,” but rather how the company treats customers and employees. This approach is based on six core values, she said, which include “respect each other” and “bring your A-game.”
“We hire and promote leaders who view their teams as individuals and know how they prefer to be recognized, rewarded and challenged. At the same time, we create a culture where failure and conflict are not viewed as negative things, but as progress toward our ultimate goal,” said Price.
“We approach differences in thought, opinion and perspective with curiosity, interest and acceptance so that people feel comfortable expressing and being themselves,” she continued. “And it’s not just leaders or management — we look for these qualities in every new hire, from intern all the way to the C-suite.”
Recently nCino, which was founded in 2012, went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Price said this was a long-held goal for the company that from its inception aimed to be a worldwide leader in cloud banking. The company counts Navy Federal Credit Union and Solarity Credit Union among its many clients.
“To watch it all unfold, to see the price get set, to see our CEO, Pierré Naudé, on live television just as the first trade went through, to be a part of the biggest IPO pop for tech company since 2000 — it was incredibly exciting,” she said, adding that as chief product officer the achievement was extremely gratifying.
“I was ecstatic to see that so many other people believed in nCino and our product, and how that would enable us to continue building innovative, industry-changing products and solutions for the financial institutions we partner with,” said Price. “We want to bring the best solutions to our customers and create more opportunities for our employees, and this was another huge step on that journey.”
Banking: A Complex Industry
In Price’s view, banking is one of the “largest and most complex” industries in the global economy and is characterized by “intense competition between incumbent financial institutions,” as well as with “new challenger banks and non-bank lenders.” And in order to compete and thrive in this space, leaders have to be forward-leaning.
“There’s so much new and innovative thinking going on in the industry, which fuels a litany of incredibly exciting opportunities. The biggest one right now is around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML),” said Price, who excitedly touted nCino IQ (nIQ). The application suite, she noted, “super-charges customers’ processes with analytics, AI and ML, providing automation and insights” into respective business operations.
“nIQ helps FIs achieve the personalized, frictionless process consumers and businesses expect, while providing a platform that allows them to take control of their operations, easily adjust their processes to account for changes in the business in real time and improve their clients’ overall experience,” said Price. “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be financial technology, and in many ways it’s only the beginning.”
When asked what differentiates the credit union industry from other players in the FI space, Price responded that credit unions have a “relentless focus” on members. This approach, she added, also allows credit union executives to entertain cutting-edge technologies.
“Credit unions put the member first and due to that are open to tools around personalization or experiences that are good for their member community,” she said.
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