KeyBank President of Central Indiana Juan Gonzalez had a clear vision of what success meant to him early on in his career, and it involved getting an advanced degree from a university in the United States. Fortunately, the Colombia native was able to attend Butler University’s MBA program in Indianapolis, home to the Indianapolis 500 (he’s a huge fan). From there, Gonzalez grew his career in the city and became involved in the community through local events and board memberships.
Eventually, he joined a board and became acquainted with a fellow board member who worked as an executive at KeyBank, one of the nation’s leading regional banks and the only major bank headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. That executive recruited Gonzalez, who joined the bank in February 2010.
To say KeyBank’s values align with Gonzalez’s would be an understatement. The bank’s boots-on-the-ground efforts to engage with the community and its robust diversity and inclusion initiatives strongly appeal to Gonzalez, whose own desire to be involved in the community goes back to his childhood experiences in Colombia, where he witnessed his parents leading by example.
“A lot of people say KeyBank is just a bank, but it’s not just a bank,” Gonzalez says. “From the day I joined this organization, one of our core values has always been diversity and inclusion. I’m very honored to be the first Latino market president for this company. We have twenty-seven markets in the United States, from Alaska to Maine, so it’s a great honor to represent our community at that level.”
Today, Gonzalez leads a team of business bankers throughout Indiana and is the senior executive for KeyBank in central Indiana, which is composed of more than two hundred employees. His responsibilities include making sure KeyBank is growing its market share, partnering with the right local organizations, and getting employees engaged in the community.
“If management is not 100 percent committed to diversity and inclusion, nothing really changes. I’m proud to say we are committed.”
“I want to make sure the CEO in Cleveland knows who my team members are, not just because they are producing but because they are involved in the community efforts we are working on in central Indiana,” Gonzalez says. “That servant leadership concept is still there for me, and I don’t think it’ll ever go away.”
Gonzalez is also heavily involved in the bank’s development and oversaw a major digital banking pilot program in 2019. Banking has been transformed because of technology, he points out, and people are using online banking more than ever. According to Gonzalez, KeyBank used central Indiana as a testing ground to consolidate a number of branches where foot traffic was lower—the test resulted in zero layoffs, and the money the bank saved was reinvested in the locations that stayed open, as well as digital banking technology.
As a part of that effort, Gonzalez and one of the bank’s corporate responsibility officers spoke with a wide range of community leaders, businesspeople, nonprofit heads, and even politicians about the change. A byproduct of these conversations was a $250,000 investment in ten community organizations to support the development and delivery of digital banking and financial wellness education programming to low- to moderate-income residents across central Indiana. The grants are a part of the bank’s commitment to ensure all people, especially those in low- to moderate-income communities, can benefit from the changes happening across the banking industry.
“The pilot program has proven to be extremely successful. We have grown market shares with fewer locations,” Gonzalez offers. “We have taken a bigger number of clients into KeyBank, and they’re not just opening an account. They are making us their primary bank, for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, business, wealth management, and more.”
“From the day I joined this organization, one of our core values has been diversity and inclusion. I’m very honored to be the first Latino market president for this company.”
KeyBank has also stepped up to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to Paycheck Protection Program loans, KeyBank was able to fund 100 percent of its clients and helped facilitate more than forty-three thousand loans across the country for a total of about $8.1 billion.
“It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it to see our clients survive and succeed,” Gonzalez says. “We’re also one of the largest companies in the country that does affordable housing lending nationwide. The bank is committed 100 percent from the top down, and I can tell you that the passion is there. It’s truly in our DNA to be community minded.”
Gonzalez credits strong mentors with his professional advancement. Today, he pays that forward as a mentor to a younger colleague based out of Denver.
“Moving up the ladder isn’t just something we talk about. It’s something we help our teammates do through various programs and mentorships,” Gonzalez says.
He is also very proud of the bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. He references an in-house training system, through which employees and managers can access a wide range of data-driven information to learn about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Employees can also participate in roundtable discussions, in which Gonzalez is a frequent participant.
“If management is not 100 percent committed to diversity and inclusion, nothing really changes. I’m proud to say we are committed,” he says. “There’s still a lot of work to do—this is a long journey. But people like me are volunteering and participating and making sure we have the difficult conversations about how we can be there for our community and how we can do more as a bank through hiring, recruiting, and development.”