“We are subject to all the vagaries that every other bank is,” she said. “Right now, we have compression of our net interest margins, rising rates and a flattening yield curve. But we also have more personal issues such as labor shortages, pressure on wages, attraction, and retention of talent. One of the things that is most germane to banking is creating and providing products and services that keep us relevant to our current and future customers and how do we invest in that and make sure we’re hitting the mark?”
Even in years absent of such market forces, the MBA advocates each legislative session on Capitol Hill, tracking some 250 bills each time while testifying on around 100 of them, she said. “We really focus on trying to maintain a policy environment where we’re free to serve our customers and communities in a way that we feel is beneficial to them and helps us remain competitive vis a vis other financial service providers,” she said.
McIsaac’s career in banking began early, starting with a college internship at the venerable Bank of Boston more than 30 years ago before being hired as a management trainee. “What was interesting about my experience is that Bank of Boston had focused on hiring finance majors and accounting majors and, when I came along and was lucky enough to be offered a job as a management trainee, I was a psychology major,” she said. “It was part of their initiative to have more diverse trainees. Did I take to it right away? I had a pretty steep learning curve, but I liked it and liked the people I worked with and it’s been very satisfying.”
After a two-year stint at Bank of Boston following her internship, McIsaac worked at both large commercial banks and local community banks, acquiring the breadth of financial service experience – including commercial lending. She graduated from Stonier Graduate School of Banking, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Xavier University. In addition to her vice chair’s role at the MBA, she serves on the board of trustees for the South Shore Health Foundation and the Sturdy Memorial Foundation.
It’s not lost on McIsaac that her career trajectory has propelled in an industry that is dominated by men. She commended the inadvertent timing of MPA’s observation on this matter given that the MBA just recently staged its tenth annual “Women in Banking” conference this year, the title of which was amended to include allies.