EVP, Enterprise Retail Banking, Zions Bancorp.

LeeAnne Linderman is a self-styled "change master."

And considering how much change she has been leading at Zions Bancorp. lately, the label is more apt than ever. Perhaps the biggest involved consolidating the holding company's seven bank brands and retail operations.

Linderman served on the committee that arrived at the pivotal decision, after working through options with a consultant. Then, as executive vice president of enterprise retail banking, a role in which she oversees 447 retail branches in 11 Western and Southwestern states, she helped re-engineer how all those parts would work together.

"I want to do all I can to make it more comfortable by leading others effectively through changes," Linderman said. "Perhaps being raised in a family where my father's company transferred him frequently created my ability to lead change. I was always 'the new kid,' continually making new friends then saying goodbye, and making more new friends."

Early efforts for the new enterprise retail banking initiative focused on improving consumer lending. By mapping the "customer experience journey," Zions revamped the entire process from initial application to final closing, reducing 11 different underwriting approaches to just two. In the 12 months that ended April 30, consumer loan applications grew 9%, compared with a 4.5% decline in the prior 12 months. Newly booked balances increased 13% for the same period.

Still, Linderman said it is important at the former affiliate banks to still have a voice within Zions, so she helped devise an advisory council of branch managers that meets quarterly to share ideas for improvements and discuss any pain points. These are supplemented with monthly meetings for affiliate bank retail executives and quarterly meetings with the CEOs.

"I had been one of those heads of retail banking at an affiliate for 20 years, so I just asked myself, 'What would my fears be if I were still in that role?'" Linderman said. "It is important to state very clearly what we will be doing."

As Linderman actively mentors others within the industry, she often encourages women to be proud of their accomplishments. She has noticed that women tend to be quick to negate a compliment by saying what they did was nothing. Doing this could diminish their achievements in the eyes of the person complementing them, she said. "It's not brash when someone complements your work to say, 'Thank you, I'm pleased with the results.' It's not being impolite to acknowledge that."

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