HarborOne Bank has tapped a new chief information officer who said his top technology priorities are advancing the bank’s cloud and automation capabilities.
The Brockton, Massachusetts-based bank announced Thursday that it has named Brent Grable as chief information officer, following the departure of previous CIO Kevin Hamel in January. In the role, Grable will oversee areas like information technology delivery, project management and back-office operations. Grable said in an interview that he wants to develop an organizational structure that facilitates technology evolution.
“A lot of [my plan] is about leveraging technology to create capacity for change,” Grable said. “HarborOne has grown very quickly, and we need to continue to evolve and grow. One thing that’s important for an organization this size is making sure we’re able to be agile so that we’re able to move and change quickly to meet market conditions.”
He added that shifting to cloud computing is important for its infrastructure, to enable scaling up and down efficiently. HarborOne also needs to take advantage of automation to take over many manual processes, Grable said. He added that his job will be to find the technology that can drive HarborOne’s strategic goals, which are outlined by the business side of the bank.
Grable has 20 years of experience in IT and business transformation, most recently serving as head of IT finance at Santander Consumer USA. He’s also worked in IT roles at State Street Bank, Investors Bank and Trust and State Street Global Advisors. He is the third CIO appointment since 2019.
“Brent is a proven leader in the agile transformation of technology systems in the banking and financial services sector,” said Joseph Casey, president and CEO of HarborOne Bank, in a prepared statement. “His addition to the Harbor One Bank team will further enable us to maximize value through superior technology delivery.”
Grable comes to HarborOne during a challenging time in the banking industry, as recent bank runs and macroeconomic conditions have raised liquidity concerns for community banks. HarborOne’s stock has dropped 43% since January. He said the current headwinds aren’t changing how he’s looking at his role.
In its first quarter earnings, the bank reported that, although deposits rose, a higher cost of funding and a decline in mortgage banking have put pressure on the bank. In the first quarter, HarborOne laid off 37 people and closed a branch to reduce expenses. The bank took similar cost-reduction action in August 2020, which it attributed to COVID-19’s impact.
Casey, who took the reins as CEO of the bank last May, said in a prepared statement at the time that HarborOne “embraces change” and was making enhancements to “people, process and technology.”
“While significant challenges presented themselves in Q1, I have tremendous confidence in our ability to manage through the current environment,” Casey said in the first quarter earnings release. “Our team remains highly focused on ensuring stability in our deposit base. The company has been proactive in reducing expenses at both HarborOne Mortgage and the Bank and will continue to look for additional opportunities.”
HarborOne has been ramping up its data analytics to drive better customer engagement and cross-selling for the past several years, in an initiative led by Chief Marketing Officer Dave Tryder. In 2019, the $5.57 billion-asset-bank brought on Baker HIll to overhaul HarborOne’s customer data management.