Most Powerful Women in Banking | Top Teams: Bank of America

As part of American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance program, we have selected five "Top Teams" for 2020. Bank of America is one of the team honorees.

In the Top Teams category, each bank is evaluated based on:

  • The presence and influence of women in the senior ranks
  • The performance of women-led business units
  • Demonstrated commitment to and progress toward fostering diversity (and specifically female participation) in senior leadership and key roles with P&L responsibility
  • Improvements shown in the representation of women in the pipeline
  • Programs, policies and practices that are effective in fostering success in the areas above

Bank of America
Headquarters: Charlotte, N.C.
Assets: $2.4 trillion
Female representation among corporate officers: 32%
Female representation on operating committee: 46%

Diversity Initiative

The Women's Next Level Leadership Program at Bank of America is an eight-month virtual experience that addresses the unique challenges diverse women face in advancing their careers and provides strategies to be successful. In 2019, at least 95% of the participants surveyed said the program helped enhance their leadership skills, which resulted in new sponsors, increased responsibilities and stretch assignments. A total of 395 women have taken part in the program since 2017.

Selected executive highlights:

Sheri Bronstein

Chief Human Resources Officer

Under Bronstein's leadership, BofA raised its minimum wage for U.S. employees to $20 an hour in March, a year ahead of schedule. The company held health care premiums flat for the eighth year in a row for employees who earn less than $50,000 a year. And tuition assistance increased to $7,500 a year, from $5,250.

Holly O'Neill

Chief Client Care Executive and Head of Consumer, Small Business and Wealth Management Client Care

Over the course of a few weeks this spring, BofA pivoted its entire on-site call center workforce across 40 locations to working from home, procuring 10,000 laptops and assessing the technology needs of each home office. The company also redeployed 3,000 other employees to support call volume.

With O'Neill focused on exceeding the expectations of callers facing hardship amid the pandemic, internal measures of satisfaction among the company's 66 million consumer and small-business customers hit an all-time high of 85.6% in May, a year-over-year improvement of 230 basis points.

April Schneider

Head of Consumer and Small Business Products

Schneider simplified core deposit products and transformed overdraft for BofA.

One example is Advantage Banking, which launched in late 2018 and was the first product to introduce overdraft guardrails on all banking accounts. The account's SafeBalance setting, which doesn't allow for overdrafts, is now 38% of all new sales and 55% of all student sales.

Fees for insufficient funds and overdrafts make up 52% of overall fee revenue, which is the lowest percentage among peer banks, according to BofA. It pegged peers at 65% to 70%.

Meredith Verdone

Chief Marketing Officer

Verdone launched the "Power To" campaign last year, asking customers "What would you like the power to do?" The flagship ad featuring Chairman and Chief Executive Brian Moynihan broke company records for click-throughs, searches, video views (59% completion rate) and social mentions. BofA achieved its highest customer favorability score ever, accelerated mobile and digital awareness, and won 24 industry awards last year, including recognition from the Effies.

The team

Cathy Bessant, Cynthia Bowman, Sheri Bronstein, Candace Browning, Anne Finucane, Katy Knox, Sharon Miller, Lauren Mogensen, Tram Nguyen, Holly O'Neill, Lorna Sabbia, April Schneider, Andrea Smith, Meredith Verdone, Anne Walker, Anne Clarke Wolff, Elif Bilgi Zapparoli

Bank of America also had a Top Team win in 2017.

See the other 2020 Top Teams:
U.S. Bancorp
Bank of the West
Zions Bancorp.
Howard Bank