Since Carmen Jordan founded Amegy Bank's energy lending division in 2002 she's been the Houston-based bank's top producer every year in both revenue and profitability, generating over $1.5 billion in new loans-and making Amegy a major presence in the energy sector. With just nine staff-herself included-her division accounts for an impressive 10 percent of the bank's profit. In 2006 she became not only the first woman, but the youngest member, on the bank's senior loan committee.

Thus far, at least, rising energy prices have buoyed Amegy well above the tide of financial woe swamping many banks. Through July of 2008, new loans generated by Jordan's division stood at $532.6 million, exceeding the $488.6 million in new loans for all of 2007, and far above the $288.3 million achieved in 2006. Her division's return on equity is 29.5 percent, and net profit this year is set to top that of 2007 by 25 percent.

Jordan is as adept at bringing in deposits as she is at building a strong loan portfolio. Deposits raised by her division have jumped from $357 million in 2006 to $550 million in the first seven months alone of this year, allowing Amegy to fund its growing energy loan business. She has an exceptional record as a cross seller of other bank products, such as treasury management, foreign exchange, and investments. She also leads in generating syndicated loans, pulling together 16 such loans totaling $950 million to date, ensuring Amegy's ability to keep clients whose needs exceed the bank's capacity.

Jordan is widely respected in the oil and gas industry, so much so that she's become the "go-to" banker in Houston. Typical of the chorus of accolades, one client reports: "I can tell you without question that Carmen is the most capable, solution-oriented banker I have worked with." She began her career in branch management at First Interstate Bank of Texas (later acquired by Wells Fargo) before moving into commercial lending. Notably, during her 17 years in banking, she's never had a loan loss.

She is passionate about mentoring staff, particularly women, and is active in several bank and community initiatives. When Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston faced bankruptcy after the demise of major donors Enron and Arthur Andersen, Jordan overhauled the budget and brought the charity back into the black.

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