GonzoBanker Awards Recognize the ‘Extraordinarily Good’ and ‘Not-So-Good’ in the Banking and Fintech Industries

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Cornerstone Advisors, a leading management and technology consultancy for banks, credit unions and fintech firms, has announced its 22nd Annual GonzoBanker Awards, the company’s blog-based tribute to notable people, companies, technologies and government regulations in the banking and fintech industries.

A select few awards:

  • GonzoBanker of the Year (Regional Bank): Huntington Bancshares Chairman and CEO Steve Steinour. Huntington doubled down on local markets in 2023 by consolidating business units and has continued to focus on digital investments and its strong legacy of product management to remain a progressive regional bank.
  • GonzoBanker of the Year (Mid-Size Bank): David Findlay, CEO of Lakeland Financial, for executing the timeless principles of capital management, credit quality, efficiency and customer service.
  • GonzoBanker of the Year (Credit Union): Rob Stuart, CEO of OnPoint Community Credit Union, for taking OnPoint from under $2 billion in assets to nearly $10 billion, becoming the most recognized financial brand in the Portland market, and budgeting $2.5 million in donations and support to the community in 2025.
  • The “Giant Sucking Sound” Award: The swell of $1 trillion leaving banking and ballooning money market mutual funds.
  • The Do the Right Thing Award:
    • WAFD CEO Brent Beardall, who took the experience of a life-threatening plane crash to spread a positive message about gratitude and love to friends and team members.
    • Valley Bank CEO Ira Robbins, who visited Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel following the Oct. 7 atrocities.
  • The Bank Technology of the Year: Generative AI. Although the hype around large language models like ChatGPT is yet to have matured into use cases that have had a significant impact in banking, we expect a lot of ideas to explode from this tech.

Every year, Cornerstone recognizes the “smarter banks” that are modernizing their business and growing in focused and strategic ways.

  • The Smarter Bank Strategy Award: Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. In 2023, CEO April Clobes and her team introduced two new challenger bank brands, deployed a proprietary digital banking platform and announced the acquisition of three community banks in the Chicagoland area.
  • The Smarter Bank Technology Award: Chris Nichols and the team at SouthState Bank, who creatively and pragmatically skied down the learning curve when it comes to applying artificial intelligence to banking.
  • The Smarter Bank Ecosystem Award: The collection of banks and other industry investors in the JAM FINTOP Capital fintech venture fund, the Bank Tech Ventures group, and the leading credit unions investing in the CURQL Collective also investing in fintechs.
  • The Smarter Bank Data Award: Hands-on Consumers Credit Union for launching “Side Car,” a practical next-best-offer tool bringing together disparate datasets and delivering them to frontline employees in a low-friction .NET interface that connects to their Phoenix core.
  • The Smarter Bank Customer Experience Award: Synovus Bank. Kevin Blair and the team at Synovus lean into transformation and they exude a culture that still loves the practice of relationship banking.
  • The Smarter Bank Talent Award: Synchrony Bank for consistently scoring a 4.2+ on Glass Door and leaning into programs around work-life balance, professional development and inclusiveness.

See the full awards here.

About Cornerstone Advisors

Cornerstone Advisors, a management and technology consultancy, brings innovative insights and strategic execution to banks, credit unions and fintech firms, helping them reach the next level of performance. For more information, visit our website or connect with us on LinkedIn.  

Media Contact:
Cate Pitts
(480) 425-5203 

SOURCE Cornerstone Advisors