Financial Services

The region is a hub for finance and insurance establishments. Significant financial investments continue to grow this already well-established industry.

Financial services offer modern, technologically advanced career options for those interested in Financial Service Support / Back Office, Investment Banking / Front Office, and Fintech / Financial Security Software. Nearly 20 major banks, insurance and investment firms on the Fortune Global 500 list have centers of operation in the Jacksonville region.


Financial Services
Sector Report

Industry Deep Dive

Financial Services Companies in the Region

Use experiences to stretch and expand your skill set, as it will open other doors. Take opportunities to expand your network with professors and industry professionals.

Shannon ColesSenior Vice President Business Management, TIAA Bank

It goes beyond chasing the dollar.

Kenneth McAllisiterDirector of Business Services, JAX Federal Credit Union

With the training and experience I have gained through school and internships, I feel very confident in my skills and abilities and look forward to future opportunities throughout my career.

Sean O’NeillIntern, Citibank and Deutsche Bank

Shannon Coles

Senior Vice President Business Management, TIAA Bank

Shannon Coles, current Vice President of Strategic Business Development at TIAA Bank, maximized her collegiate experience and has translated that experience into career success. Shannon leveraged her positive student experience into a clear career pathway. She’s worked for TIAA Bank in various roles for over 12 years. In addition, Shannon pursued her professional education by attending the CBA Executive Banking School.

A graduate of the University of North Florida in 2007, Shannon initially became interested in the industry after taking some accounting classes. Seeking the ability to infuse more creativity into her studies, she took a financial management class. She enjoyed it immensely, as it permitted application of rules and practices in different ways. Financial management presented flexibility within a specific framework — something that meshed naturally with her personality.

Shannon’s interest and aptitude were further cultivated through involvement in the Osprey Financial Group, a student managed investment fund responsible for a $500,000 endowment. Only 10-15 total graduate and undergraduate students are accepted into this program each year. Shannon was accepted after completing a competitive application and interview process.
The group involved competitions in which the team completed and presented projects to industry professionals and leaders. This work, in addition to her course load, taught Shannon valuable skills in written and oral communication, teamwork, accountability and conflict resolution. This experience provided real skills and resulted in heightened confidence and empowerment.

Shannon also participated in the Finance & Investment Society, as well as Students in Free Enterprise, additional activities that supplemented classroom learning and made her a more valuable hire. Her advice to others seeking this career pathway is to use experiences to “stretch and expand your skill set, as it will open other doors. Take opportunities to expand your network with professors and industry professionals.”

Ultimately, Shannon is an example of how an individual can successfully select a career pathway, pursue education in that pathway, and obtain gainful, fulfilling employment — all right here in the Northeast Florida region.

Kenneth McAllisiter

Director of Business Services, JAX Federal Credit Union

Kenneth McAllister, a graduate of Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), was recently named Director of Business Services for Jax Federal Credit Union, which serves members across Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Baker and Nassau Counties.

In his new role, Kenneth is responsible for the continued development and implementation of products and services for commercial members, such as commercial mortgages, company vehicle loans, business lines of credit and equipment loans. Previously, he held the position of Branch Vice President for VyStar Credit Union.

Kenneth graduated from FSCJ in 2015 with an Associate of Arts (AA) Degree in Business Administration and Management.

Kenneth became interested in the financial services industry because it was “the perfect combination of people and numbers. I liked math and science.” The financial services sector allows Kenneth to positively impact the lives of people. For example, his work helped people get a first credit card, home or car, all with the education required to make smart financial choices. As Kenneth’s role has evolved, he helps maintain and grow businesses.

Kenneth enjoys the industry because of its constantly changing environment which requires progressive learning. When he entered the industry, Kenneth taught himself a great deal about interest rates and loans. He also mastered the skill of talking to customers about their finances, which initially challenged his comfort zone. Now, Kenneth sees his career choice as one that’s generated happiness and has provided a meaningful career. He encourages those seeking to enter the financial services industry to understand themselves and seek a field that is interesting and “goes beyond chasing a dollar.” Kenneth exemplifies selecting a career pathway and setting goals to achieve success — all of which was accomplished using opportunities and resources in Northeast Florida.

Sean O’Neill

Intern, Citibank and Deutsche Bank

Sean O’Neill is a third-year student at Florida State University, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. As a graduate of the St. Johns County’s Creekside High School, Sean has taken advantage of multiple internship opportunities over recent years. These internships have all occurred in Jacksonville, at Fortune 500 companies such as Citibank and Deutsche Bank, along with local Jacksonville start-ups like OnDefend. These internships were focused on cybersecurity, one of the fastest growing fields globally, and helped Sean to learn valuable skills that can’t be taught in the classroom.

Internships are highly beneficial work-based learning opportunities. Sean is able to apply what he has learned in the classroom to real-world situations and gain hands on experience from seasoned industry professionals. These experiences have proven extremely valuable for Sean, who states, “With the training and experience I have gained through school and internships, I feel very confident in my skills and abilities as a cybersecurity professional and look forward to future opportunities throughout my career.”

Sean has proven himself to be a skilled contributor to the workforce, garnering praise from colleagues and industry experts. His LinkedIn profile features this quote from a former supervisor: “Sean worked as an intern for me over the summer. He showed true leadership skills, quickly grasped the cyber security skills to have a successful career in the future and was a true asset to the company even as an intern.” From the knowledge gained through his collegiate studies and internships, to the cybersecurity industry certifications and other independent training, he has generated a wealth of experience to prepare him for his future career as a cybersecurity professional within the financial services sector.