“When you start to track and aggregate the loan data for an individual client, you create a financial picture of that client which they might not otherwise have access to. A banker might be able to figure out what the customer is missing financially and help find the best strategy moving forward.”
When it comes to lending, there is usually an element of risk involved. For banks, monitoring risk represents a critical piece of the puzzle in keeping business practices responsible and ensuring a steady growth of assets over time.
In order to manage risk effectively, banks must be aware of any financial developments regarding their loan customers and assess how these developments might affect the possibility of default.
As SVP, Director of Risk Analytics at Atlantic Capital, it’s Shannon Morrison’s job to structure and interpret available loan data for use by the bank’s leadership team. She is responsible for evaluating risk statistics in order to calculate expected total losses for the bank over the coming year. It’s a new role for Atlantic Capital, created in response to new complex accounting standards that go into effect next year.
“The analysis we do helps us as an organization understand our risk,” Shannon says. “We can use this to estimate future losses and direct lending policies. In this way, the information allows us to stay responsive with our lending decisions.”
Managing and analyzing loan data can be a complex process, but organizing the volume of information and making sense of it can serve a bank in ways beyond just risk assessment. The results can help an institution come to a clearer understanding of who their customers are and what they need.
“Our bankers have the potential to use this information to make them better informed about our customers,” Shannon adds. “When you start to track and aggregate the loan data for an individual client, you create a financial picture of that client which they might not otherwise have access to. A banker might be able to figure out what the customer is missing financially and help find the best strategy moving forward.”
In a competitive market, banks are judged by their ability to provide customers with up-to-date, individualized solutions. In this respect, Shannon’s work is part of what makes Atlantic Capital a unique alternative to larger banks, where the needs of small business clients can often be overlooked. And with the possibilities of data analytics only beginning to unfold, the future looks bright for Atlantic Capital and its customers.
“Our goal is to expand this analysis beyond just loans,” Shannon says. “We want to aggregate relationships as a whole, so we can understand our customers even more clearly. It’s also important for us to fully understand what makes us who we are as a bank, so we know which customers we can best serve and how we can best serve them.”
With service being such an important piece of what Atlantic Capital does, it’s little wonder why Shannon chose the bank as her place of employment. Serving the community has long been a priority for Shannon, with she and her husband running Atlanta-area nonprofit The Well out of their family home. The organization focuses on helping low-income residents and the homeless in the city’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.
After learning about the organization, Atlantic Capital has taken the opportunity to partner with The Well on several community engagements, including back-to-school and winter coat drives, giving out food and toiletries to the homeless, and working with a local park to make it a safer place for children. The partnership developed organically and has been a natural fit for both parties.
Meanwhile, Shannon is grateful to work at a place that shares her values and takes an interest in her experiences. “At my previous bank, I didn’t have a voice. Even the years of experience didn’t matter. Here I can sit and talk with [CEO] Doug [Williams], with any of the executive management, and I feel like they care about what I have to say. They want to know my opinion, and that doesn’t exist at every company.”
Fun Facts About Shannon:
Favorite thing about living in Atlanta?
On any given day, you can find something fun to do. Coming from a small town in South Carolina, where the most fun thing to do growing up was a Walmart, the fact that you can go to a museum, a concert or a play is great. I really enjoy creativity and the arts.
Favorite travel destinations?
I spent a semester abroad in Spain when I was in college. I really loved the culture. Again, coming from a small town in South Carolina, to see the beauty of the architecture, the history and experience such deep culture was amazing.
Do you speak any Spanish?
I double-majored in Business and Spanish. I’d say I’m fairly fluent, though I can understand more than I can speak. Also, two of my kids are adopted from Guatemala, and I used my Spanish a lot during that process. I was able to communicate with Guatemalan attorneys and read legal documents in Spanish. I also used it just to talk to the kids. They were almost 2 years old at that point, and that was all they knew.