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.

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