In her 29 years at Northern Trust, Jana Schreuder has been part of a global expansion that turned the Chicago-based family trust-asset and custodial institution into a global wealth-management and institutional lending powerhouse. But no episode challenged the 51-year-old president of the bank's operations and technology unit more than what happened in the days heading up to the demise of Lehman Brothers.
As the securities lending market collapsed, Schreuder's team had to burn the midnight (and weekend) oil with the bank's credit analysts, lending teams, accountants, and custodial-services leaders to advise clients, many of whom were looking to reduce exposure as quickly as possible. Northern Trust operations staffers, some through makeshift work-at-home setups, were pricing asset holdings and portfolios in the days leading up to the Lehman bankruptcy, as the bank prepped for record levels of cash and securities transactions that would follow. Work that normally took weeks, if not months, was being compressed to hours, "so we could assess a whole new situation that was occurring before our eyes," Schreuder says. "Not your typical operations role."