Investors may want to ask Pam Joseph what she eats for breakfast everyday-and then promptly buy U.S. Bancorp stock. Contributing 26 percent of U.S. Bancorp's revenue and 37 percent of its fee income, Joseph, vice chair of payment services and chairman of Elavon (formerly NOVA Information Systems), is no slouch when it comes to delivering numbers for chief executive Richard Davis. In the first half, her business generated 18.9 percent growth over the same period last year and 31.9 percent growth over first half 2006. Where's the revenue coming from? For starters, merchant processing. Joseph's Elavon subsidiary provides services to 265 of the Fortune 500 companies and processes more than one billion card transactions annually. Need plastic? U.S. Bank's credit card business, led by Lynn Heitman, jumped 25 percent in the first half, while growth in the debit card business mirrored credit cards at 25 percent.

In wealth management and securities services, vice chair Diane Thormodsgard's team is contributing 12.3 percent of the bank's revenue, with first-half growth of 1.3 percent from a year earlier and 5.6 percent during the same period in 2006. Total trust and investment management fees represent nearly 80 percent of the revenue; the entire group has experienced compounded annual growth rate of nine percent between 2005 and 2008-with corporate trust alone generating a CAGR of 20 percent. One other strength: She knows when to exit a business, as evidenced by her winning argument for U.S. Bank to divest of its 401(k) recordkeeping business. Her rationale: no scale and lackluster growth prospects.

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