TD's Jason Thacker said it best: 2020 certainly brought some very trying and difficult times, but when you welcome a new baby into the family, it's hard to be anything but grateful.
The Head of Credit Cards and Unsecured Lending at TD will soon be taking his paternity leave so he can support his better half's return to work, while spending more quality time with his little guy.
The special time he'll have with his son and how important it is to Jason fits in line with how he approaches what matters most to him at TD – people and relationships.
To him, CCUL is all about, "lending to help our customers live a more fulfilled life."
We sat down with Jason for a candid, heart-felt interview about his family, his vision for CCUL and much more.
First off, Happy New Year! I understand you had a new addition to your family in 2020. Congratulations! How is fatherhood treating you?
It's pure joy. But it's also a lot of work – and 2 a.m. staring contests are very real!
It's still early days, and my wife and I are enjoying the journey. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time to bond with my son as we get to know each other while supporting my wife as she resumes her career following her maternity leave.
So outside of TD, what are some of your major passions or hobbies that people may not know about?
I do play fantasy football seriously with a group of high school buddies – we've been playing together for nearly two decades. We're all in different cities, so our fantasy league helps us all to stay in touch. People are usually surprised to hear that, but I think it's important to maintain these long-lasting friendships, and the banter is very creative.
Looking back on your career, what advice would you give your younger self?
No one really cares how much you know until they know how much you care. It might sound cliché, but at the end of the day, it's all about people. Business acumen is important and performance definitely matters, but people matter most.
They say, "The days are long, but the years are short." I may not have understood that at the start of my career, but it's really starting to resonate with me now.
OK, on to the business…
You head up Credit Cards and Unsecured Lending for AMCB. Can you tell us a little about what your line of business does for the Bank?
We're essentially lending to help our Customers live a more fulfilled life.
It's quite a diverse portfolio, from TD credit card and unsecured personal loan offerings to financing purchases through our retail card services partners – anything from couches to lawn and garden furniture, phones, fitness equipment and more.
We also facilitate the credit on Target and Nordstrom's store cards. Finally, we've got our own servicing and call center teams alongside large program implementation teams for tier one projects named Blueprint and Relay.
How does the outlook for 2021 look? What are some trends you're closely following during this unprecedented time?
We are all watching economic indicators, and importantly, consumer indicators. The truth is, even if society opens back up later this year, we've all fundamentally changed during this pandemic.
Consumer priorities are different now. The way we choose to live our lives moving forward will be different. Our ability to track those trends, tap into insights and create products and experiences that delight customer needs will be paramount to us winning in-market.
It's also important to recognize that the personal impact of COVID is going to be different from person to person, family to family. You just never know the shoes that someone is traveling in, and we always want to be sensitive to that – especially for our Colleagues working across our many businesses.
What are you most proud of in how you and your colleagues responded to COVID-19?
I'm coming up on my 14th year with TD and I've never been prouder to be part of our organization. You really see how organizations operate during challenging times. We rallied together and found ways to make an impact for our Customers, the Colleagues we work with every day and the Communities we serve.
I believe we are all leaders; I think we have 90,000 leaders and each of us are "CEOs of our own unique part of the organization". Whether it's a teller or Call Center rep, inclusive of anyone reading this article up through Greg and Bharat, everyone has found a way to come together to make an impact – and it's been wonderful to witness. My personal opinion is our best days at TD remain firmly ahead of us.
For example, in CCUL we have 300 or so Colleagues on the frontlines answering calls from Customers. They continue to work from home in environments that may be challenging. Before the pandemic, I don't think we ever thought Call Center Colleagues could work from home and do it so well.
Finally, I want to mention TD Cares, which a huge initiative launched during the pandemic that offered meaningful relief to our Customers. During times like that, you just stand back and say, "Wow, we've made a sizeable impact and were able to help people when they needed us most." I think it's a lesson in leadership we'll all remember.
If you took the time to read this, thank you.
On we go…