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A Conversation With: Clair Finkenbinder III

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Clair Finkenbinder III, 47, chief information officer and director of operation for Centric Financial Corp.
Clair Finkenbinder III, 47, chief information officer and director of operation for Centric Financial Corp. - (Photo / )

Clair Finkenbinder III, 47, was appointed chief information officer and director of operation for Harrisburg-based Centric Financial Corp. in December.

He has more than 27 years of experience in the technology field, including 11 years with Dell EMC Corp. He is also a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Finkenbinder has an associate degree in business, with an emphasis in information systems, from Anne Arundel Community College. He is also a graduate of the Air Force Technical Training School in data communications.

He lives in West Pennsboro Township. His family comprises his son, who is a freshman in high school, and his girlfriend and her daughter.

Q: Chief information officer is a new position for Centric. What challenges and opportunities do you face establishing this role?

A: I’m not a career banker. I’ve been fortunate to work with numerous financial organizations, but from a vendor’s perspective. I am a career technologist. Centric’s done an outstanding job building the culture and evolving but they felt they needed to bring in an individual to help drive the tech environment for the bank.

I’m able to ask all those questions as to why something’s been done one way versus another, to challenge the status quo in an attempt to move things forward. They’ve been welcoming that across the board. We want to enhance our technology platforms, to take the bank to a leading edge of service in the digital age.

As technology changes, how will you help Centric stay current and best assist its customers from a tech standpoint?

The big thing is to not be looking necessarily for a technology but at what our customers are asking for, what the business is asking for. The only reason to implement any technology is for improvement. And then we evaluate the technology that’s out there. We want to make sure we take solutions to the market that are going to differentiate us against our competition.

More customers are banking by computer and smartphone. How do you maintain security for these operations?

It’s a challenge. You need to weigh risk versus the rewards. The market is changing faster than ever. We have our workforce that’s rapidly changing with the millennials. By 2020, they’re projecting 50 percent of the workforce will be millennials, and by 2030, 80 to 90 percent. You have a group of individuals now that do not know a world without a handheld device.

Identity management, authentication, is key to making sure a person is who they say they are. We need to make sure data in transit, whether it be over a secured line or a public line like the internet, through encryption, is secure. We need to make sure data at rest is also secure.

What is your favorite technology used for fun?

It’s my mobile device, period. It’s the center of everything I do. From the simple phone calls, to taking videos of my son wrestling, maintaining all my contacts. I often joke that if I lose my phone, I can’t remember anyone’s phone number anymore.

I use the app Waze. The best applications are the one that are going to give you information but provide you the ability to provide live input and instant feedback. Waze will tell you where accidents are. It will do online rerouting based on traffic flows. It’ll tell you where law enforcement may or may not be. That instantaneous feel is what I hope to bring to the services Centric will offer our clients from an online perspective.

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