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Banker of the Year: The Finalists

There was plenty of competition for our top honor for 2012. Here's a look at who won, why, and who deserves honorable mentions.

For full Best in Banking coverage, click here.

(Image: Todd Yarrington)

Banker of the Year Banker of the Year Stephen Steinour, Huntington Bancshares

The Columbus, Ohio, company was near death when Steinour took it over in early 2009, when it lost $3 billion. Through a series of contrarian moves, he has transformed it into one of the country's strongest banks. Huntington has made money in every quarter since the start of 2010, including a record $168 million in this year's third quarter.

Related Article: Banker of the Year: Huntington CEO Stephen Steinour

(Image: Dan Nelken)

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Grayson Hall, Regions Financial

The once-struggling Birmingham, Ala., company turned a corner in early 2012 when it sold off its Morgan Keegan investment banking subsidiary and used a big share of the proceeds to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Those moves, along with substantially improved credit quality and capital ratios, help explain why Regions' shares are up more than 50% for the year.

Related Article: Regions is Finally in Position to Talk About Growth

(Image: Dana Mixer)

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Kelly King, BB&T

The Winston-Salem, N.C., company continues to rank among the industry's top performers and a string of deals in 2012 — including acquisitions of the Crump Group, a large insurance brokerage, and BankAtlantic in Florida — should help it maintain that momentum.

Related Article: The Branch Killers Have It Backwards in Eyes of BB&T's King

(Image: J. Wes Bobbitt)

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Beth Mooney, KeyCorp

Deals to buy back its credit card portfolio and acquire more than three-dozen branches in upstate New York have led to strong loan and margin growth at the Cleveland-based company. Meanwhile, an efficiency drive Mooney spearheaded is expected to reduce annual overhead by up to $200 million.

Related Article: The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, 1 to 5

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Ed Clark, Toronto-Dominion Bank

Through aggressive expansion, the Toronto-based parent of TD Bank now has more retail branches in the U.S. than in Canada and is eyeing further growth in key population centers along the East Coast, including New York, Boston and Miami.

Related Article: Contrarian TD Says Intensive Retail Growth Plan Will Make Its M&A Pay

(Image: Bloomberg News)

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Richard Fairbank, Capital One

Not even a $210 million fine from the CFPB — the first ever levied by the agency — could slow the McLean, Va., company's torrid growth or dampen investors' enthusiasm for its shares. The stock is up nearly 40% year to date, thanks largely to its successful acquisitions of online bank ING Direct and HSBC's retail card portfolio.

Related Article: Capital One is Nearly Unscathed in Deal Victory

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Jim Rohr, PNC Financial Services Group

Already a powerhouse in the Northeast and Midwest, Pittsburgh-based PNC established itself as a retail-banking force in the Southeast with its blockbuster acquisition of RBC Bank in March.

Related Article: How PNC Says It Will Make the RBC Deal Pay Off Soon

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Philip Flynn, Associated Banc-Corp

On life support just three years ago, the Green Bay, Wis., company has emerged from the financial crisis as one of the Midwest's healthiest regional banks. Much of the credit goes to Flynn, who first shed problem assets and cut costs and now is positioning the bank for growth. Case in point: Commercial loans grew 19% in the third quarter from the same period last year.

Related Article: Working Every Angle to Get Associated Back on Track

There was plenty of competition for our top honor for 2012. Here's a look at who won, why, and who deserves honorable mentions.

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