They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere - and Leslie Godridge's lofty goal is to make sure that U.S. Bancorp does indeed make it there.

Since joining U.S. Bancorp three years ago after 25 years with The Bank of New York, Godridge and her team have been working tirelessly to build the Midwest bank's reputation and its account base among businesses in and around the country's largest city.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the strength of the bank, to gain clients and build new relationships with business partners," says Godridge, executive vice president and head of national corporate and institutional banking at U.S. Bank.

From her office in Manhattan, Godridge and her senior team have put themselves out front - conducting conference calls, holding face-to-face meetings and traveling - to get East Coast companies familiar with U.S. Bank. Besides the base of operations in New York, which will be staffed by more than 100 people by the end of this year, Godridge says that U.S. Bank recently set up offices for its corporate banking and fixed-income operation in Charlotte.

In effort to boost its notoriety in the eastern half of the country, U.S. Bank recently launched its first-ever national ad campaign that's primarily aimed at business customers. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Godridge's team, the bank's eastward push has chalked solid results on the corporate and institutional side of the house: 467 of the Fortune 500 companies are now customers of U.S. Bank, according to a recent print ad the bank has been running.

To further refine the message that U.S. Bank wants companies' business, Godridge's group recently reorganized into special industry groups geared to work with companies in particular market segments, such as utilities, insurance and retail. The reorganization, which also centralized 40 corporate portfolio managers directly under Godridge, also aims to make the team more responsive to corporate customers. "Working with our credit partners, we can turn around [credit] requests in 24 hours," she says.

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