Senior EVP, Retail and Business Banking Director, Huntington Bancshares

The word "welcome" is all over Mary Walworth Navarro's Huntington Bancshares office — from the paperweight on her desk to the artwork on the walls. It is the word tellers and other customer-facing employees say countless times each day as they greet customers at Huntington's branches and it is the first word online banking customers see when they click on huntington.com.

"Everyone feels better when they feel welcome, whether it's someone coming to work or a customer walking through the door," said Navarro, who headed the strategic review that led to the word "welcome" becoming a key component of the bank's marketing efforts.

To Navarro, no detail is too small in promoting a welcoming atmosphere. Free Huntington-branded pens are available for customers to take at every branch. Branches open 10 minutes early and close 10 minutes late to accommodate those who have trouble getting there during regular business hours. And no matter the time, customers' deposits are applied to accounts on the day they are received, not the next day, as at many banks.

Stephen Steinour, Huntington's chairman, president and chief executive, said Navarro takes calculated risks to get results. For example, Navarro was the driving force behind the move to give customers who have overdrawn their accounts 24 hours to replace the funds and avoid an overdraft fee. Huntington lost fee income in the short term, but the 24-hour grace feature has become hugely popular with customers, and it is among the reasons why the bank has won numerous awards for customer satisfaction in recent years.

All of these efforts are paying off. Last year checking balances increased by 20%, households with six or more products jumped 5% and revenue for Navarro's retail and business segment surged 11%. Overall, her group is responsible for roughly 60% of Huntington's revenue.

Navarro has served as head of retail and business banking since 2002. She is one of three women on Steinour's leadership team. She is also a past chair of the Consumer Bankers Association and currently serves on its board.

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