"There is a frustrated writer in the heart of this banker!" So says Catherine Keating, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase's U.S. Private Bank-arguably the gold standard in wealth management-and a self-described "voracious" reader. Trouble is, she hasn't been able to settle on a book idea.

Doubtless there are many fascinating untold sagas among her well-heeled clientele, but should she ever put pen to paper the former English major could do worse than to start with her own intriguing success story-that of a scholarship student who became one of the youngest partners ever at an old-line Philadelphia law firm, head of America's most prestigious and fabled bank, and a trustee of her alma mater, Villanova University.

Keating left Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for JPMorgan in 1996 and in 2005 took charge of the largest private bank in the United States.

As of June 2008, her business represented the lion's share, 61 percent, of JPMorgan's $440 billion in Global Private Banking assets under management, and generated approximately 43 percent of JPMorgan's Global Private Banking revenues of $1.36 billion through July of this year.

Since she took the helm of the U.S. Private Bank she has been a big contributor to the global private bank's revenues and earnings leap. Revenues at the global bank swelled from $1.69 billion in 2005 to $2.48 billion in 2007, while pre-tax earnings nearly tripled from $363.7 million in 2005 to $940.3 million last year.

Under Keating, the bank has gone from strength to strength. The financial storms roiling markets and felling competitors over the last year have only helped her capture market share as investors scurried for high ground in the form of JPMorgan's relatively solid balance sheet and sterling reputation. Client assets under management have climbed 12 percent this year through July over the same period in 2007.

She spends much of her time meeting with clients across the country, including corporate executives, private business owners, and families with inherited wealth. She's fostered innovative initiatives such as the in-house Advice Lab, a multi-disciplinary team of advisors, and she has reached out to the legal community as a source of client referrals.

One of Keating's biggest concerns-and that of her clients, she adds-is the dire poverty in which many of the world's people continue to live. While JPMorgan Chase's response centers on community investment and microfinance, "our clients' efforts follow their passions, often in areas such as education and healthcare," Keating says. "I see the intersection of those efforts, and it's a wonderful place to be."

Return to the 2008 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking

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