Event Speakers

James B. Gulka

Rajul Sood



26 Apr 2018



26 Apr 2018



The Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles

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Amid slowing loan growth, increased competition, and customers’ preference for a digital experience, regional banks need to rethink their business model to remain competitive. The hunt for good-quality earning assets is a challenge, as rising interest rates tend to make businesses postpone their capital expenditure decisions. The problem is compounded by the presence of alternate lenders like fintech firms, lending clubs, credit hedge funds, and private equities, which are attracting customers by offering lower interest rates and promising a digital experience.

The event focused on ways regional banks can reimagine their business model to remain resilient in this challenging environment.

James Gulka, Corporate Credit Officer at Key Equipment Finance (KeyBank),, presented current challenges and unique ways to counter such headwinds.

Rajul Sood, Head of Commercial Lending at Acuity Knowledge Partners presented different scenarios on how banks are transforming their lending operations to remain efficient.

Key Takeaways
  • Attendees representing over 30 regional banks in the west coast

  • Challenges faced by commercial banks and emerging need to transform lending function

  • Transformation initiatives of global banks

  • Augmentation of credit analysis through elimination, digitization, and centralization

Speaker Profile
James B. Gulka

Key Equipment Finance (KeyCorp)

James Gulka has over 20 years of experience in leading credit teams across multiple sectors. He is currently a credit officer at Key Equipment Finance. In his previous role at Key, he served as vice president of the portfolio monitoring team. Prior to this, he has worked at Citibank A.S. in Prague, Czech Republic and at Capital Associates International.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.

Rajul Sood

Senior Director, Commercial Lending

Rajul has been with Acuity Knowledge Partners for over a decade. She has extensive experience in investment banking analytics and commercial lending research services. Rajul heads the commercial lending practice and leads teams managing end-to-end activities across the lending value chain for global corporate and commercial banks. Apart from banks, the teams she oversees also have in-depth experience in working across different lending products, processes and systems for Fortune 100 companies, SMEs and real-estate businesses. She holds a Master of Finance and Control, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Delhi University.

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