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Jessie Kelley, banking veteran, joins Chatham to advise financial institutions on interest rate risk management

September 28, 2021


Jessie Kelley joins Chatham’s Financial institutions team with 15 years of banking experience. She will lead business development efforts in the Southeast and portions of the Midwest and will advise financial institutions on interest rate risk management through the use of hedging strategies. Learn more about her in this brief Q&A.

Can you summarize your experience within derivatives and the capital markets?

I joined Chatham after spending the past 11 years managing the derivatives program at a $30+B regional bank in the Midwest. Every day, I served relationship managers and their commercial clients throughout the entire hedging process by helping lenders identify opportunities and educate customers, structure and execute a swap that complements a floating rate loan, and finally, the continual maintenance of the transaction through its maturity. At the end of the day, the swap allows a borrower to achieve the same result as a traditional fixed-rate loan with benefits to both the borrower and the financial institution.

I worked with customers across geographies, including large metropolitans to small rural cities within CRE, agribusiness, and manufacturing industries. During my time there, my team meaningfully grew the program both in revenue and in the number of annual transactions executed. Because of Chatham’s extensive advisory service, we could run an effective program with a lean staff. Chatham’s offering is not limited to trade execution. The compliance, regulatory, accounting, and documentation advisory services are beyond impactful to multiple stakeholders within an organization.

What is the key to having a strong derivative program?

The key to an effective derivative offering for a financial institution is educating both internal and external stakeholders on the benefits of using interest rate swaps. As a program manager, I witnessed our clients compete for and win commercial loans, grow their fee income, and protect shareholder returns from adverse rate changes. In addition, having a derivatives program allows an institution to be strategic on how they choose to do business and manage their balance sheet.

What is important for financial institutions to consider by EOY:

As we approach the end of 2021 and we look toward 2022, there are two things that I strongly encourage:

  • If you haven’t already started, you need to work on a plan for the LIBOR transition. Make sure your systems can handle more than one index. While this is a big market event, don’t panic! The financial industry has to work through this in an orderly fashion to avoid a financial crisis, but it’s always best to be prepared.
  • While derivatives may not be an immediate strategy, it’s always a good idea to have a program in place so that your institution is ready for when you need them.

Why is Chatham the right fit for you?

The bank I came from was a Chatham client, so I experienced Chatham’s business philosophy firsthand.

Chatham focuses on the relationships and treats their customers the same way a financial institution wants to treat its customers or members...

Chatham focuses on the relationships and treats their customers the same way a financial institution wants to treat its customers or members — that the business done together is about the relationship, not just the transaction. It’s the care they have for all the needs of a swap program, including accounting, regulatory consultation, documentation, compliance, and operations.

I thrive on relationships, so leaving a place that I had worked for so long and knew so many people would have been challenging if I wasn’t walking into an organization with a team of people I respected for the way they work and do business. I literally walked into a company where I already had well-established friendships, which is uncommon. It means so much when moving to a new organization. The Chatham team carries a high level of professionalism, offers an extensive partnership, and goes above and beyond to support their clients.

As I begin my new chapter, I am looking forward to showing other institutions how beneficial a swap program can be and the value of partnering with Chatham.