Most Powerful Women in Banking | Top Teams: U.S. Bancorp

As part of American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance program, we have selected five “Top Teams” for 2020. U.S. Bancorp 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

U.S. Bancorp
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Assets: $536 billion
Female representation among corporate officers: 48%
Female representation on operating committee: 36%

Diversity Initiative

In March 2019, U.S. Bancorp undertook an initiative to increase the number of women in senior leadership by addressing obstacles to career advancement that female employees told the company they face. As part of the effort, it expanded sponsorship opportunities with a focus on women and professionals of color.

Several women's sponsorship groups across the company pair high-potential women with leaders one or two levels above them, and one program saw a 54% promotion rate among participants within 12 months.

A revamped talent review process also provides focused support for senior-level women, increased visibility to the executive team, and opportunities for high-visibility assignments and promotions.

Selected executive highlights:

Jodi Richard

Vice Chair and Chief Risk Officer

Richard led the efforts that allowed the company to achieve a major milestone in December, when the Federal Reserve lifted a consent order that was issued in February 2018 in connection with matters related to a legacy anti-money-laundering program. The Department of Justice and FinCEN terminated their orders in February 2020.

Her focus lately has been on managing risk around the global pandemic, nationwide civil unrest and an economic downturn, all while ensuring day-to-day functions continue uninterrupted with 75% of employees working remotely. (U.S. Bancorp's hometown was ground zero for the protests over police brutality and racial injustice, following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.)

Other priorities include enhancing oversight of emerging risk areas such as ethical data use, new technologies, real-time payments and digital services.

Lynn Heitman

Executive Vice President, Product Strategy and Support, Emerging Business Group and Small Business Administration Business Unit

Heitman's team, which is responsible for driving loan and deposit revenue from consumers and small businesses, generated more than 28% of the company's total revenue in 2019. Drawing on support from across the organization, her team also helped set up the process that helped more than 80,000 small-business customers get emergency loans totaling more than $7 billion from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program this spring.

Over the past two years, Heitman has ushered several impactful projects through the company's Agile Studios, including a business lending transformation that entirely redesigned the process and technology for underwriting larger business loans and an overhaul of the customer onboarding and consumer lending experience.

Kercedric Holley-Bell

Group Head of Customer Service and Support for Corporate and Commercial Banking

Holley-Bell leads a diverse group of over 300 people in 33 cities across the country. Most are women, and the average tenure for her group is about 16 years. Working long hours — including nights and weekends — to facilitate thousands of Paycheck Protection Program loans during the onset of the pandemic drove home the importance of the supportive dynamic they have developed.

"Our overall banker satisfaction rate — that's accounting for PPP as well has our regular responsibilities — has been 4.7 out of 5.0," Holley-Bell said. "Through May, we tracked over 270,000 tasks. This level of excellence isn't possible without a strong team commitment and true sense of support."

Katie Lawler

Global Chief Ethics Officer

Lawler, who was named to this newly created role in 2017, is leading a novel approach to ethics, using behavioral science to create a culture of psychological safety. The approach entails teaching employees at all levels strategies to change interpersonal and team dynamics, with the goal of fostering an environment where people feel safe offering new ideas, raising concerns and challenging the status quo. U.S. Bancorp has been named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for six years in a row.

The team

Betsy Cadwallader, Reba Dominski, Kandace Heck, Lynn Heitman, Kercedric Holley-Bell, Gunjan Kedia, Felicia LaForgia, Katie Lawler, Janet Lerch, Mary Martuscelli, Beth McDonnell, Deborah Murphy, Kate Quinn, Jodi Richard, Jen Thompson, Judie Verb

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