Kristina Bolte, vice president of dealer services for digital, direct and alliance programs at U.S. Bank, leans on her background in sales, marketing and consumer experience to lead with compassion and inspire motivation.
Bolte has been at the bank since 2011, when she joined the student lending division as a user experience strategist. She then moved into the direct-to-consumer product space, working as a project manager before taking on the role of an adherence manager building risk management programs. Bolte joined dealer services at U.S. bank in 2018 and took over the vice president role in 2020.
U.S. Bank has worked to expand its digital offerings during Bolte’s tenure. The bank earlier this month launched real-time payments for auto dealers to allow access to loan funds outside of normal business hours and to accelerate funding time. In May, the bank launched a Spanish-speaking voice assistant to its mobile app for auto loan servicing and banking.
Bolte’s career started in sales for a TV news station in Cincinnati before working as a consultant at a digital marketing firm for small companies.
“I am 100% an accidental banker, and I love every part of it,” Bolte told Auto Finance News.
Auto Finance Excellence spoke with Bolte about her career and the current state of the banking industry. What follows is an edited version of the conversation.
Auto Finance Excellence: What are U.S. bank’s goals in about 10 words or less?
Kristina Bolte: Adding value for our customers and making investments to ensure long-term success.
AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice ever received?
KB: When one candle lights another, its light is not diminished. As a leader it is our responsibility to help motivate and support those around us. If we are always working to build each other and our teams up in a positive way, we will only be more successful together.
AFE: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
KB: I have been fortunate to work for some really fantastic leaders in my career, especially since coming to U.S. Bank and joining dealer services. Each of those leaders has had a strong impact on my career in many different and wonderful ways. However, the people that have had the biggest influence on my career overall would be my parents.
My dad was raised on a tobacco farm in a small town in Kentucky and was the first of his family to put himself through college. He studied math and computer science in a decade where that was not common and was able to build and cultivate a long, successful career in the technical and business industry over the span of many decades. He taught my three sisters and I the value of working hard to achieve our goals.
My mother, who was an occupational therapist, taught us the value of compassion and helping others. I have tried to keep those values front and center in every role I have had, and I believe they have been a cornerstone in any of my previous successes throughout my career
AFE: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
KB: Maintaining relevancy and value with your customers outside of — or in front of — the standard sales cycle.
AFE: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
KB: While I love thrill rides like rollercoasters and controlled heights like bungee jumping, I have a strong fear of open heights, such as standing on ladders or hiking at higher elevations.
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