Last name: Helen Panzarino
Role: Associate Director for Digital Banking and Finance
Company: The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF)
We all know companies, but what about the people behind them? Here, we learn more about Panzarino’s background, why she stands up for entrepreneurs, and her take on the heroism of American community banking.
Who was your childhood hero, and why?
My father. It might sound a bit cliché, but for someone who left school at the age of nine, he instilled in me the value of education and self-confidence. He also had enormous pride and confidence in me and my abilities. He was my biggest supporter and a wonderfully innocent and kind person who helped shape who I am today.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“The mentors are great, but the defenders are better. I’ve found that it’s much harder for entrepreneurs to find true advocates, so it’s something I try to do for others.
What activity are you most looking forward to doing once the pandemic is over?
Can’t wait to go to Terroni Brothers in Clerkenwell, London for some authentic Italian pastries and an espresso I didn’t have to make myself! I have written most of my books in cafes, and I find that the change of scenery also helps me to think outside the box on all my projects.
Is there one personal achievement from 2020 that you are particularly proud of?
I am very proud to have my second book, Reinventing banking and finance: frameworks to navigate global fintech innovation, published by Kogan.
The schedule for this book was very tight and I was fortunate to have Alessandro Hatami, a good friend and peer in the industry, as a co-author. We have received industry accolades, strong supporters, and many compliments on the clarity of thought and content, which made it even more useful.
What inspires you today in fintech?
I am immensely inspired by how community banks in the United States have become the unexpected heroes of the pandemic, quickly putting money into accounts, but also being there for their clients as trusted partners.
Many community banks were big enough to recognize that they could do more to support their customers, and it was hugely inspiring to see them partner with the fintech community to improve operations and customer service.
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