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Building loyalty with BTS for CLV

It’s that time of year again. BTS (Back to School). Or, when it comes to bank marketing and the Gen Z consumer, what’s commonly known as BTC, or Back to College.

Seems like it was just the other day that we were talking about the Gen Z consumer. Why so much hype about this individual? Because he/she is an important, and somewhat unique, consumer. And, why is this an important time of year, not just for students off to college, but for community bankers, as well? Because BTC is a great time to build upon your base of loyal customers and with it, their CLV or Customer Lifetime Value.

Loyalty.  As marketers, this is our Holy Grail. Gen Z individuals, like any other customers, value a trustworthy relationship with their banking partner and for many, college marks a pivotal stage of life where many beliefs and habits, including financial habits, are established. Effectively meeting a college students' unique financial needs provides you with the opportunity to forge a long-lasting relationship. By offering tailored products and services such as student checking accounts (see our campaigns below), you can demonstrate your commitment to their financial well-being, and earn yourself a customer whose need for financial products will only continue to grow. After all, as these young consumers transition from college to the workforce, their financial needs will evolve; it won’t be long before they need products and services such as auto loans, home mortgages, investment options, and retirement planning. 

Let's not forget, too, that this is a powerful (numbering nearly 70 million) and lucrative demographic. And yet, while their financial needs are much the same as previous generations, their view of banking services and communication/info gathering is vastly different. 

Remember the days when brands used to advertise via mass media? For me, it was a Golden Age. The agency Copywriters and Art Directors would work as teams, putting their heads together with the goal of coming up with that winning :30 television concept. Once an idea for a commercial was hatched, (for me, it could very well be Oscar Meyer), it was storyboarded, presented to the client, tested, modified, tested again, and then – probably a couple of months later, with several internal departments and third-party resources contributing along the way – air on national television. Did we know if the messaging was effective? For the most part, no. If there was a bump in sales, the campaign was considered a success. Now, just how much of a “bump” differentiated success from failure, I’m not sure many at the agency knew… or cared.  The commercial aired, it was fun getting it there, and now it was time to move onto the next one. Looking back, yes, it was a blend of art and science… but, a lot of art, and not a whole lot of science.

Today, the crafting of a marketing message is, as we all know, quite different; the opposite, in fact. It’s almost all science, with some art sprinkled in. Consumer touchpoint opportunities have expanded from network television, outdoor, print, and radio – along with mass media messaging – to a laser-focused, personalized omnichannel experience that is dominated by social media and highly-targeted marketing messages. This messaging is continually monitored, analyzed, and “tweaked” when necessary in a continuous feedback loop that, ideally, hones the messaging to perfection as it travels along a very thoughtfully-crafted buyer journey.

As we’ve talked about before, Gen Z is often referred to as the "digital-first" generation, with an inherent appreciation for… no, it goes deeper than that… I would say “reliance upon” social media messaging. As I mentioned a month or so back in a Gen Z blog, reach them where they like to be; Tik Tok, Snapchat, Twitter, and now, Threads. Make sure that these platforms are an integral part of your social media marketing strategy.  These platforms offer unparalleled speed to market, effectiveness measurement, and the ability to adjust messaging “on the fly” based on metrics such as likes, follows, and engagement. They also provide you with the opportunity to lead a prospect down a path to purchase. Post some Student Checking ads on your social channels with a link to an online account application, for instance. Perhaps that student needs a credit card, as well. And, if that online application experience meets expectations, your new customer may very well share that information with friends. If that visitor to your site for some reason decides to bounce off, use Google Ads remarketing to keep your message top of mind.  If  you recall, with Google Ads remarketing, past visitors to your online application will see your ads while they are browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, or reading news sites, for example—and entice them to revisit your site.

In the end…

Securing Gen Z as long-term customers is critical to maintaining a competitive edge and growing your share of wallet. By understanding and catering to the unique preferences of this digitally native generation, and making use of the targeted messaging that social media marketing offers, you can be extremely effective (and hopefully, successful) in promoting the products that matter to them… right at the moment that they matter most.  

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these campaigns that can help you attract young consumers who are heading off to college and in need of banking services.To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

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Don’t wait to get on Threads!

In the rapidly evolving world of social media marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial… and Meta’s new Threads is a great way to do that. In case you’ve somehow missed it – and I’m not sure that’s even possible?! – Threads is Meta’s new social media platform. Even though it’s only in its infancy, Threads has already attracted over 100 million users, and promises to revolutionize the way marketers connect with their target audience.

Is that overpromise?  I don’t think so. But don’t take just my word for it; this is from a recent tech.com article: “While Twitter admittedly has a 17-year head start on Threads, the Meta-owned social media platform has taken off in the short time since its launch. In fact, as of writing,1 Threads has become the fastest social media platform in history to reach 100 million followers.”

Looks like, according to Tech.com, “Twitter is having trouble holding onto their current users, let alone attracting new users. In fact, a study in May found that 25% of users expect to ditch Twitter within the year.” I guess it’s safe to say that Threads is on the rise, and Twitter is on the decline. Should you drop Twitter in favor of Threads?  I say keep them both!

Now, in Twitter’s defense, the platform is still ahead of Threads in terms of functionality, with features such as a discovery page, a following page, hashtags, and direct messaging. Threads does come out ahead on post and video lengths, which are features that are moving users to the new app. Remember, too, that Threads is backed by Meta and its tremendous resources.  Many new features are in the pipeline, apparently, and Meta certainly has the power to make good on its promises. So, what else does Threads have that Twitter doesn’t?

Unparalleled User Engagement

Threads offers an immersive and interactive experience through industry-leading features, such as augmented reality (AR) filters, 360-degree videos, and gamification elements.  As a bank marketer, you can leverage these features to create compelling and memorable experiences for your audience, driving both engagement and brand building.

Targeted Advertising Capabilities

Threads provides marketers with advanced targeting options, allowing them to reach their desired audience with precision. Leveraging Meta's vast data ecosystem, marketers can tap into valuable user insights to deliver highly personalized ads. With Threads, marketers can refine their targeting based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and even specific actions within the platform, maximizing the effectiveness of their campaigns and improving return on investment.

Seamless Integration with Meta's Ecosystem

Another consideration. Meta’s metaverse is unparalleled. The company’s ecosystem spans a wide range of platforms that includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. Integration with these platforms offers you a more “frictionless” experience in managing your social media campaigns across multiple platforms. In short, a greater number of touchpoints with which you can “converse” with your audience.

Enhanced Influencer Marketing Opportunities

If you’ve ever considered influencer marketing (and you should), you’ll find no better platform for it than this one. Threads presents a great opportunity to tap into this trend, giving influencers the ability to create truly captivating and immersive content, which can be seamlessly shared with their followers. With the ability to amplify their message through Threads’ interactive features, influencers can drive authentic engagement and build strong connections with their/your audience. 

Community Building and Customer Support

Threads provides a fertile ground for community building and customer support initiatives. With it, you can create dedicated groups and communities, which can then help to build brand loyalty and encourage meaningful interactions among users. By actively engaging with customers through comments, messages, and live discussions, you can not only gain valuable insights into your audience's preferences, but their pain points, and wants, as well. This valuable feedback can go a long way in informing your product development, marketing strategies, and overall brand positioning.

Early Adoption Advantage

It pays to be one of the first. Being an early adopter can provide your bank with a significant competitive advantage. By establishing your presence on this new and innovative platform, you’ll differentiate your brand from the rest while capturing the attention of that younger, digitally savvy individual who you want and need as a customer. 

Get out there and be one of the first!

Remember what Marshall McLuhan said? “The medium is the message.” And, it’s as true now as it was when he said it back in the early ‘60’s. Quite simply, it means that the way that we send and receive information is more important than the information itself. And it is certainly true with Threads. With its engaging features, Meta ecosystem integration, influencer marketing opportunities, community building potential, and early adoption advantage, Threads offers community bank marketers a tactic that can connect their brand with an audience in exciting and innovative ways. If you’re not out on Threads already, now’s the time! And, as I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t be in any hurry to drop Twitter and replace it with Threads.  If there’s anything we know about Elon Musk, it’s that he never backs down from a challenge.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.


1Tech.com. Threads vs Twitter: Differences Between Social Media Platforms. July 11, 2023


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What student debt means to you, the community banker.

As you probably know, just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s proposed forgiveness program for federal student loans. What you also probably know is that the soaring cost of higher education has left many young individuals – and many of them, your customers – grappling with the burden of student loan debt.

When I say “soaring costs,” this is what I’m talking about. Here’s a 1981 NY Times article entitled (and this says it all), “The $10,000-a-year college tuition has arrived.” One institution cited as an example is Fordham University in New York. “At Fordham University, which has announced 13 and 14 percent increases in tuition, a demonstration was held recently on the Bronx campus, where total fees will go from $3,750 to $4,240.” What’s the annual tuition in 2023 for an in-state student? With a 43% increase over the past decade, the cost of attendance is now $55,700. If only wages increased at the same pace…

According to educationdata.org, the average monthly student loan payment is $503. Experts are saying, and this makes sense, that many students have been taking advantage of the COVID forbearance, which means that come October, those students will begin making payments for the first time in years. This can be problematic as, for many, getting back into repayment mode will mean making some lifestyle, and spending, adjustments.

American Bankers recent article, “These banks help employees with their student loans. More could follow,” points out what the larger banks are doing in response: Offering various types of financial assistance to employees. “Assistance with student loan repayment isn't the norm in the banking industry. But some large financial institutions do offer to cover part of borrowers' monthly payments — or provide one-time payments to reduce principal balances.”1

Helping employees with their student debt is one thing… helping customers is another, which I believe, presents an opportunity for smaller banks. As these young Americans embark on their professional journeys, community banks have a unique opportunity to step in and provide valuable assistance. 

Known for their local presence and personalized services, community banks can play a vital role in helping these younger customers navigate the challenges posed by student loan debt. By offering tailored financial solutions, educational resources, and debt management strategies – and if possible, products that may help them lighten their debt load – these banks can empower their young customers to achieve financial stability and thrive in the long run. Remember, young customers are your future business, and earning their loyalty now could very well gain you a customer for life… one who will, over the course of a lifetime, buy multiple vehicles, homes, and investment products, among others. Some may even start a small business that grows into a big one. In short, you need to earn their business, and their trust, now.  

“Community banking is fundamentally relationship-driven and small banks excel at relationship building. Student borrowers could embrace the level of personal attention and service that are hallmarks of community banks. Ample research points to the Millennial preference for personalized experiences and to their antipathy toward large institutional banks.”

  • Deluxe.com. “Do Student Loans Hold Opportunity for Community Banks?”


Customized Financial Solutions

One way community banks can assist young customers with student loan debt is by offering customized financial solutions. These banks can provide low-interest refinancing options tailored specifically for student loans, allowing borrowers to consolidate their debts and potentially lower their monthly payments. By refinancing, borrowers may also benefit from reduced interest rates, saving money over the life of the loan.

Additionally, community banks can create special savings or investment accounts designed to help customers pay off their student loans faster. These accounts can offer higher interest rates or unique incentives, such as matching contributions, to encourage disciplined saving and accelerated debt repayment.

Educational Resources and Financial Literacy Programs

Community banks can go beyond financial products and services by offering educational resources and financial literacy programs to help their younger customers manage their student loan debt effectively. These resources can include workshops, seminars, or online tools that provide guidance on budgeting, debt management, and long-term financial planning.

By partnering with local educational institutions and organizations, community banks can host financial literacy events or invite guest speakers who specialize in student loan management. This collaborative approach allows young customers to gain a comprehensive understanding of their student loan options, repayment strategies, and how to build a strong financial foundation for the future. At the same time, this builds a strong relationship between the younger customer and their local bank.

Debt Management Strategies and Counseling

In addition to providing financial solutions and educational resources, community banks can offer personalized debt management strategies and counseling services. These banks can assign dedicated advisors or loan officers who specialize in student loan debt to guide customers through the repayment process.

Loan officers can work closely with borrowers to create manageable repayment plans, explore loan forgiveness or discharge options, and identify potential avenues for reducing their debt burden. They can also assist customers in understanding the implications of different repayment programs and provide insights on how to make informed financial decisions.

What does it all mean?

Community banks have a significant role to play in supporting their younger customers burdened by student loan debt. By offering tailored financial solutions, educational resources, and personalized assistance, these banks can empower young individuals to navigate the complexities of student loans, achieve financial stability, and build a brighter future.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. Like these campaigns, for instance, designed to help you get the message out to those younger customers who carry student loan debt.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

1American Banker. These banks help employees with their student loans. More could follow. July 11, 2023.

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What does ChatGPT have to say about maximizing the use of ChatGPT?


I was thinking… what better way to tell the “why ChatGPT” story than to, well, let ChatGPT’s AI-assisted writer tell you himself… or herself… not sure about this… maybe “itself”? Anyway, when I prompted the assistant to “write a 750-word article on how to get the most of out of using ChatGPT in writing marketing content,” this is what he/she/it came up with:

Title: Unlocking the Power of ChatGPT: Maximizing Marketing Content with AI

In the digital age, marketing content plays a pivotal role in capturing and retaining customers' attention. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), businesses have gained access to powerful tools that can revolutionize their marketing strategies. One such tool is ChatGPT, an advanced language model developed by OpenAI. In this article, we will explore how marketers can leverage ChatGPT to get the most out of their marketing content, ensuring greater engagement, relevance, and impact.

Understanding ChatGPT's Capabilities:

To maximize the potential of ChatGPT, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of its capabilities. ChatGPT is a language model that has been trained on vast amounts of data to generate human-like text responses. It excels in understanding context, answering queries, and engaging in natural language conversations. By grasping these core features, marketers can harness ChatGPT's power to create compelling marketing content.

Embrace Personalization:

One of the key advantages of using ChatGPT is its ability to personalize content for customers. Leverage this feature by collecting and analyzing customer data to understand their preferences, interests, and needs. By tailoring content using ChatGPT, marketers can craft personalized messages, product recommendations, and offers that resonate with customers on an individual level. Personalization creates a stronger connection and increases the likelihood of customer engagement and conversion.

Enhance Customer Interactions:

ChatGPT can transform customer interactions by providing instant responses to inquiries and delivering real-time support. Integrate ChatGPT into your website or chatbot platforms to offer customers a seamless and efficient experience. Automate routine interactions, such as FAQs or basic queries, while ensuring a smooth transition to human agents when necessary. By optimizing customer interactions with ChatGPT, marketers can enhance customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.

Refine Content Generation:

Writing persuasive marketing content can be a time-consuming task. ChatGPT can assist marketers by generating creative and engaging content ideas. Use ChatGPT to brainstorm headlines, taglines, blog topics, or social media captions. Simply provide the model with prompts, and it will generate a variety of options to choose from. This collaboration between human creativity and AI assistance can streamline content generation processes and inspire marketers to think outside the box.

Improve SEO Optimization:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for digital marketing success. ChatGPT can contribute significantly to optimizing marketing content for search engines. By training the language model on relevant industry-specific keywords and phrases, marketers can generate content that aligns with SEO best practices. ChatGPT can suggest appropriate keywords and provide insights on content structure, helping marketers create SEO-friendly content that ranks higher in search engine results.

Ensure Ethical Use of AI:

While AI tools like ChatGPT offer tremendous potential, it is essential to use them ethically. Be mindful of the limitations of AI and the potential biases it may exhibit. Review and curate the responses generated by ChatGPT to ensure accuracy, relevance, and alignment with your brand values. Human oversight and involvement are critical to maintaining the integrity and quality of the marketing content produced.

Continual Learning and Improvement:

AI models like ChatGPT continually learn from user interactions. To get the most out of ChatGPT, encourage customer feedback and evaluate the performance of generated content. Analyze customer responses and make adjustments as necessary. Iteratively refine the training data to improve the model's understanding and generation capabilities. This iterative learning process ensures that ChatGPT evolves with your business, producing more refined and tailored marketing content over time.


Incorporating ChatGPT into marketing strategies opens up a world of possibilities for businesses seeking to create impactful content.

Okay, now back to the human writer! Not bad stuff, is it? Can our AI-assisted writer use a bit of help in bringing some personality to “their” writing?  Yes, and that’s important to keep in mind with tactics such as newsletters. As a community bank, you want to make sure that it communicates your brand as a personal one. Make sure you weave in that “local” messaging… such as charitable events you support, employee anniversaries and recognitions, for example. Now, if you’re creating a newsletter and need some copy around, say, how to improve your credit score or the advantages of a Roth IRA, that personalization isn’t really necessary, and ChatGPT will provide you with an admirable foundation.

The secret to using this tech is “prompting,” and here’s what I suggest. Coursera is currently offering a fabulous course through Vanderbilt University and it’s absolutely free. While it’s fun to play around with AI writing, it’s certainly more productive to know how to use it effectively.  Now, would ChatGPT recommend this course? I don’t know. I didn’t ask. But, take it from someone who does a fair bit of writing; an AI- assisted writer can be a great partner.  I just wouldn’t rely on him/her/it to do all the writing work!

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, we do believe the ChatGPT AI-assisted writer when he/she/they say that “incorporating ChatGPT into marketing strategies opens up a world of possibilities for businesses seeking to create impactful content.” Which is why we’ve recently integrated ChatGPT into our marketing portal.  

We’re all about impactful content. Our goal is to help you with the topical, compelling communication – developed by banking industry marketing professionals – that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. With the addition of ChatGPT functionality, you have even more control over your content, customizing your layouts within minutes, and with just a few clicks.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

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Can the flexible workplace remain flexible?


Looks like Citigroup wants their employees back in the office. Granted, not all, and not all the time. But still, the news is a bit of a tune change from June of 2021, when the company was trumpeting the fact that the flexible workplace was giving it an edge over its competitors.1

The bank, which has stood out as one of the Wall Street firms most friendly to remote work, announced just a week or so ago that employees will face consequences if they do not meet the firm's three-day, in-office requirement. Compliance with the required three-days-in-the-office edict, staffers have been told, will be considered when rating performance and crafting pay packages. While the company is “committed to their hybrid work model and proud of the flexibility it provides, as necessary we will hold colleagues accountable for adhering to their in-office days.”2

The reason is that Jane Fraser, CEO, feels that the company’s flexible work policy has shown that, well, not all employees can make a go of working at home. As a result, the bank’s less productive colleagues are being called back into the office… for “coaching.” I think that in this instance, coaching probably means “oversight.” And, based on my own personal experience, I understand her concern. 

Without getting too deep into details, in more than one instance, I’ve encountered a remote employee upon whom I simply could not depend. In those instances, these were individuals who were hard at work… not doing the job for which I’d hired them, but hard at work gaming the system. How? By attempting to work two jobs at the same time. I know this because I can actually “see” what they’re doing – and not doing — even though we’re not in the same office. What makes it possible? Technologies.

Let's face it, with the technologies available today, monitoring an employee’s behavior certainly doesn’t require being together in an office all day. Take Salesforce, for example. With it, one can view an employee’s activities over the course of the day; phone calls made, emails sent. And not just the dates and times of those correspondences, but content, as well. 

This is an age where employers can, and do, monitor screen times, count keystrokes, and can even know when an employee’s office chair is occupied and when it isn’t. (P.S.: There are probably other, more surreptitious ways of monitoring employee behavior of which I’m not aware). Unfortunately, employers have little choice because employees have set the ground rules. It’s unfortunate, too, that I’m reminded of that old adage that “it only takes a few to spoil it for everyone.”

Sure, bringing employees back into the office for “coaching” is a great way to make sure that they’re doing what they’re paid to do. But companies have other reasons to look at a return to in-office work. And not just for underperformers, but for everyone. After all, as amazing as some tech solutions are, employers understand that they can’t replace the experience (and the results) that can come from individuals working closely with each other. Here are just a few of the challenges faced by remote workers:

Collaboration is tough: the lack of face-to-face interaction can hinder collaboration and teamwork. Some projects and tasks require real-time brainstorming, problem-solving, and spontaneous exchanges that are simply impossible in a “borderless workplace” environment.

Blurred work-life boundaries: Flexible work (and hours) can contribute to a better balance between personal and work lives, but with no clear separation between office and home, employees can find it difficult to disconnect from work, leading to longer working hours and increased stress levels. Without social connections and impromptu interaction, productivity may increase, but so can employee burn-out and, potentially, increased attrition.

Limited access to resources: No matter how robust a company’s communication and information sharing technologies, remote workers still face limitations in accessing certain resources that would be much more readily available in a traditional office setting.

Reduced “chance encounters of the productive kind”: The absence of casual encounters and serendipitous conversations that often occur in physical workspaces limit opportunities for both innovation and, I think, personal growth. I know well from my agency days, when working remotely wasn’t an option, spontaneous interactions can spark new ideas and foster creativity. 

Learning and mentoring loss: Maybe I’m being Old School here, but much of what I learned was through the kind of personal interaction that simply isn’t possible in a remote workplace environment. Sure, you can have Zoom calls with mentors, take online skill-enhancement courses, and the like, but when it comes to learning, there is nothing like standing just a few feet away from someone who can truly teach you something. And that experience cannot be replicated in a Google meeting. Young people suffer most, of course; since they’re just starting out, they can really benefit from the in-office learning experience.

In summary…

Remote workers certainly have their share of challenges. Working remotely simply can’t present the kind of collaboration and development opportunities that employees need, nor the resources needed for optimizing efficiency. This can lead to job dissatisfaction and burn out. Meanwhile, employers have their challenges, chief among them being a potential talent loss. A move toward more days in the office means a shrinking talent pool. It also means risking the exodus of those top performers who are perfectly content with, and capable of, working remotely, and have no desire to return to the office.

What is the future of work? It’s a fascinating topic, and as always, I welcome your thoughts.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. 



1Bloomberg. Citigroup says flexible work gives it edge over competitors. June 2021.

2CNN Business. Wall Street’s biggest WFH advocate is bringing underperforming staff back into the office. January 2023