If Diana Reid had simply inherited and managed the portfolio held by PNC Real Estate when she took over as the division's head in 2007, the last few years might have been a relatively calm period. After all, PNC had a conservative portfolio of commercial and multifamily real estate loans.

But the financial crisis presented PNC with multiple acquisition targets, including major names like National City, and Reid soon found herself managing a portfolio that was much larger and had much larger problems. National City alone brought with it $6.5 billion in troubled residential development loans.

"One thing we did very quickly was to look at the facts. And we said to ourselves, 'Let's not be in denial about what is really happening,'" she says.

Reid recognized that the commercial real estate market was not coming back any time soon. So her next move was to create an internal task forceof professionals from the real estate side, and others with workout experience, to start moving bad debt off the books.

"She has allowed us to go through these times with lower real estate assets, and lower losses than the bulk of our peers," says William S. Demchak, PNC senior vice chairman.

Less than two years later, that $6.5 billion in bad loans is down to $3 billion.

"If I look at my career, I have absolutely learned the most-and sometimes had the most fun-when the market and the business is undergoing the most volatility and the most change."

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