Most Powerful Women in Banking | Top Teams: Zions Bancorp.

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

Headquarters: Salt Lake City
Assets: $76.4 billion
Female representation among corporate officers: 50%
Female representation on operating committee: 14%

Diversity initiative

A newly created diversity, equity and inclusion advisory team at Zions launched a training program on microaggressions in the workplace and a monthly brownbag speaker series for employees, with the goal of promoting awareness around multiculturalism. The team also rolled out the "Be Gender Intelligent" virtual learning program, a series of six one-hour webinars facilitated by Barbara Annis, an expert on inclusive leadership. Annis included a session on understanding gender differences at home — which proved especially timely with so many having to work from home during the pandemic.

Selected executive highlights:

Jennifer Smith

Chief Information Officer

Among their numerous technology projects last year — including continued work on Zion's core conversion — Smith and her team released the "Zip" digital mortgage process, which automatically pulls credit reports and tax returns, and verifies employment and deposits for applicants.

By the end of the year, almost 70% of Zions' mortgage applications were being initiated on the digital platform.

Chantel Chase

Business Banking Loan Center Director

With online business lending getting ever more competitive, Chase has been working to make the application process more efficient for Zions' customers. Chase was a key player in expanding the deployment of a digital loan process for small businesses last year, and roughly 60% of those applications were initiated through the new system by the end of the year.

The enhanced process created an interview-style application, streamlining the way customers typically apply for business loans. By reducing the number of handoffs and touchpoints for each application, the new process empowers one banker to complete all aspects of the loan, from underwriting to documenting. This has resulted in faster approval responses and improved the customer experience.

The new platform supported applications for unsecured loans of up to $50,000 and secured loans of up to $175,000. Chase expects to increase that threshold to $1 million this year.

Joy Antolini

Chief Learning Officer

The human resources department twice hosted Leadership Seminars for 50 senior-level employees across the organization last year. The three-day seminars, which offer valuable facetime with executive leadership, focus on the company's long-term strategy, financial performance and technology roadmaps. Career coaches follow up with attendees to create customized development plans for them.

Antolini also expanded the Banker Development Program for new hires, typically recent college graduates who are interested in becoming career bankers. The program gives them experience working in multiple product areas during their first two years with Zions.

Jennifer Christopulos

Director of the Utah Corporate Banking Group

Christopulos was tapped in January as the first female leader of the Corporate Banking Group. She now oversees 28 relationship managers and portfolio managers.

She had been the only female portfolio manager in the group when she joined Zions 16 years ago. In that portfolio manager role last year, she grew her loan commitments 8%, loan outstandings 2% and deposits 5.8%, compared with the previous year.

The team

Amber Allen, Joy Antolini, April Bailey, Pam Campbell, Chantel Chase, Jennifer Christopulos, Megan Comfort, Ashley Comstock, Shannon Drage, Meredith Dunlap, Tami Fisher, Jeanine Flint, Peggy Hammond, Olga Hoff, Mary Holman, Stephanie Horne, Angela Underwood Jacobs, Lauren Jassny, Shelly Johnson, Jennifer Jolley Johnston, Kristiane Koontz, Rena Miller, Shannon Petersen, Heidi Prokop, Mandy Querio, Rebecca Robinson, Aprille Savarese, Laura Schaeffer, Deb Smith, Jennifer Smith, Jill Vaughan, Heather White

Zions also had a Top Team win in 2019.

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