Features

Yarrow Diamond – CNB Bank

A mind for fintech innovation

Yarrow Diamond can laugh now about how desperate life seemed 15 years ago. There she was, a single mom having studied psychology and international business as a Hawaii Pacific University undergrad, pondering how she could earn a doctorate. Maybe even find a way to combine psychology with her passion for dancing.

But there she was, tending bar in Las Vegas, just able to scrape up $5 for a jar of pickles for her young son. Things went from bad to worse when the little boy dropped the jar and it shattered.

“No, I couldn’t spend the next six years in school,” a very animated and good-natured Diamond tells Toggle in May. “I needed to put on my big girl clothes, find a job and provide a life for my son. That was my turning point!”

Yarrow Diamond | Senior Vice President and Innovation and Technology Officer | CNB Bank

Yarrow Diamond | Senior Vice President and Innovation and Technology Officer | CNB Bank

Though technology didn’t particularly intrigue Diamond, she still found part-time work at IBM, which taught her how to help call-in customers troubleshoot. Psychology even had a role here, helping her assist customers befuddled by technology.

And the more she learned about technology, the more she realized it and psychology could be complementary. She’s since made a career out of blending the two, most recently at CNB Bank, headquartered in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

“I think I am, if not unique, somewhat out of the norm for a technology executive’s role,” Diamond says. “But I really enjoy that I focus on the psychology of human beings that I’m translating into technology solutions.”

Into innovation

Her CNB letterhead sure seems out of the norm—senior vice president, innovation and technology officer—since her February promotion.

Other companies might call her a chief information officer or deputy, but as Diamond explains, such a title wouldn’t do justice to the importance CNB places on innovation. A community bank that’s heavily invested in its tri-state region of Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, CNB goes the extra mile in customer experience and technology to make a difference, she says.

“We have embedded innovation into all we do,” she says. “It’s not just infotech anymore. It’s enterprise leadership. I may do what other CIOs do—but I’ll have a lot more fun along the way.”

Digital banking being the trend that gained irreversible momentum due to COVID-19, Diamond is milking what might be called the S factors for all they are worth.

Yarrow Diamond | Senior Vice President and Innovation and Technology Officer | CNB Bank

Salesforce is in place for customer relationship management as well as for back-office services of automation and analytics. Sandbox Banking integrates with other systems to allow for the testing of products and services. The cloud-based data warehousing company Snowflake Inc. enables CNB to store and analyze data. Smartsheet simplifies task assignment, project tracking and document sharing through its tabular user interface.

“I realized the need for the company to collaborate,” Diamond says. “These are more than just standard solutions for project management. All departments have the tools to customize to their intent.”

Then there’s her implementation of robotic process automation and, most recently, her partnership with Backbase USA Inc., whose banking software solutions unify data and functionality—from traditional core systems—and new fintech players into a seamless digital customer experience.

With all these systems in sync, along with CNB’s custom-built solutions, Diamond says CNB efficiently and securely processes data and expedites banking activities such as a loan applications, often satisfying the needs of small business clients in a matter of minutes rather than week.

But the wonders of technological innovation notwithstanding, she warns that the financial world can’t spin on wires alone. After all, Diamond retains a strong interest in psychology and wouldn’t want the human element purged from the equation.

“Automation and artificial intelligence are great tools, but we need to be careful in its uses,” she says. “It has the potential to make a mistake and disadvantage a community of people. We still need emotional contact.”

Dr. Diamond will shine

Diamond keeps that in mind while enhancing her tech creds. She’s earned a BS in business IT management from Western Governors University and a master’s in enterprise architecture from Penn State. She’s enrolled in an online technology doctorate program at Purdue University, one that combines transformative STEM education with world-changing research opportunities.

Yarrow Diamond | Senior Vice President and Innovation and Technology Officer | CNB Bank

Upon her expected completion in 2024, she plans to continue her enterprise leadership career as well as branch out into teaching others about all she’s learned along the way. Technology might be the most dynamic field out there, Diamond reminds, and she’ll keep even with the rising curve.

And today, rather than worrying about the price of pickles, she is picking colors for her office decor.

She’s come a long way from Hawaii, crisscrossing the country with stints of two to four years with real estate, hospitality and financial service firms as well as a nine-year stretch at Health Net in California and Oregon. Prior to CNB, she spent three years at Edelman Financial Engines in Fairfax, Virginia, garnering IT and business architectural expertise. And though new to banking in 2019, Diamond adjusted fast.

And that little son who once cried for pickles? Well, he’s just graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and starts classes at the University of Chicago Law School this fall. Seems he, too, has more than adjusted to the constant moves and changes that marked his young life.

Published on: July 20, 2021

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