Donna DeMaio is making the right moves at the right time. With two acquisitions this year, her timing and execution appear to be flawless, which isn't surprising for an ambitious and technically savvy former CPA who spent 18 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining MetLife Bank in 2002 as vp and chief financial officer.

As CEO, success may also have something to do with her discipline and patience, as evidenced by her Black Belt in martial arts, which she recently earned while juggling the roles of mother and bank president.

In May, MetLife Bank acquired EverBank Reverse Mortgage LLC, which will add significantly to MetLife's product line. In June, the bank purchased First Horizon Home Loans, a mortgage originator based in Dallas. That acquisition gives MetLife a huge presence in the mortgage market, promising to make the bank the 15th largest mortgage originator nationwide.

DeMaio credits her success at acquisitions to her "ability to wait for the right opportunities" and willingness "not to jump on the bandwagon" at the wrong time. "Why would you want to buy a mortgage company when times are so bad," she asks, because "the cycle will come back. It's a hard thing to do, look to the future, and wait for the right opportunity."

The Bank's net income almost tripled between 2006 and 2007, but DeMaio wasn't satisfied to sit on her success given her ambition to grow the business. "At MetLife, if we're going to be in any business, we want to do it in a meaningful way," DeMaio says, adding, "When I do something, I have to go all the way. I don't go half way." (c) 2008 U.S. Banker and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.americanbanker.com/usb.html/ http://www.sourcemedia.com/

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