In 2016, most incumbents in the payments industry will probably spend some time defending their businesses and rethinking their strategies, says Reetika Grewal, who has been leading payments strategy at Silicon Valley Bank for the last three years.

Grewal has worked in payments for 14 years. This is her second year being recognized among PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments.

"From the way we live and communicate to the way we shop and pay for things, [technology] is fundamentally changing customers' expectations of payments and financial services," she said.

The industry stands to suffer if it loses trust to new technology, hindering change and navigating an elaborate regulatory environment, she said.

"At their core, payments businesses are built on trust," she said. "Losing trust, whether with customers through a lapse in securing their data or with regulators through non-compliance, could significantly impact payment businesses."

She predicts greater research and development efforts, partnerships and merger activity among industry incumbents and new entrants this year as a result of these risks. But if there's one bank that's well equipped for challenges ahead, it's Silicon Valley Bank, where embracing innovation is part of its identity.

To that end, Grewal was instrumental in helping SVB launch Commerce.Innovated in September, a startup accelerator jointly run by MasterCard to help commerce, fintech and payments startups grow their businesses.

"Incumbents and regulators have a choice: They can embrace these trends or depress them," she said. "We feel it is important to be open to new and better ways of doing business to advance society [and] enhance the global economy, all while ensuring that consumers and business are well protected."

She said she's "delighted" by the direction of women's empowerment initiatives throughout the financial services industry, in the form of both personal efforts and organized programs.

"The challenge for many women seeking advancement is finding the right type of resource for the specific areas where they need help that works best for them," she said.

Finding a mentor and developing that relationship has been most helpful in managing career inflection points, she said.

Grewal recently spearheaded the formation of a networking group for women in payments, technology and fintech-focused venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

"We leverage the collective expertise of the group to share ideas on managing work-life integration challenges that many women face, and highlight the importance of mentors in the career progression of women," she said.

This article is part of PaymentsSource's 25 Most Influential Women in Payments feature. Follow these links to see a full list of all honorees or a slideshow of the featured executives.

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