Michelle Van Dyke was Fifth Third Bancorp's regional president for hard-hit Michigan when her portfolio was expanded in January 2009 to include most of Indiana and St. Louis, Mo.

In May of this year, her portfolio was expanded once again to include the $8 billion-asset Chicago operation, giving Van Dyke direct oversight of about 40 percent of Fifth Third's $80billion deposit market.

The appointment as the Chicago regional head appears to follow a job well done in Michigan. Under Van Dyke, the Michigan region beat forecasted net income for 2009 by a wide margin, despite the fact that the state's unemployment rate was hovering around 14 percent.

Van Dyke faces a different challenge in the more robust St. Louis region-growing market share in an area where Fifth Third isn't well known. "To be able to take the St. Louis market and actually grow something was very, very exciting," she says, and a change from "an eastern Michigan where you're really just kind of hunkered down."

Van Dyke started her career in banking less than a week after graduating from Grand Rapids' Calvin College in 1985. In over 25 years in the industry, she has tended to ailing businesses, worked to keep momentum at healthy ones and built others from the ground up.

She says she loves her current job and her expanded responsibilities, and might some day look to take on more. "I don't have an aspiration to take my boss' job next week, but there may be a day when that opportunity would come and that would be fine."

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