When other institutions reached far beyond their means during the mortgage-led boom, Harris Bank retained a moderate credit risk profile. And now Harris is the one in the driver's seat, making footprint-increasing acquisitions and talent-boosting hires while other banks lick their wounds.

The long-time Chicago bank has CEO Ellen Costello and her careful approach to risk to thank for its favorable position. "Having a similar risk philosophy is important for both a hire and a merger partner," says Costello. We didn't take on the risk profile that other banks did. And that's positioned us to do the things that we were doing all along."

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