Back when Candi Wolff was the Bush administration's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill, the emphasis on any given day could shift depending on which domestic or international issues were in the headlines. The speed and flexibility she developed in response have served her well at Citi, where she manages relationships with government officials around the globe and works to advance Citi's objectives in areas ranging from Dodd-Frank and derivatives regulation to data privacy laws and local tax rules.
Since joining Citi in May 2011 from the law firm Hogan Lovells, where she was a partner in the legislative and policy practice, Wolff has set priorities and crafted well-defined positions in an office that used to take a more ad hoc approach to issues as they arose.
With only 17 staffers covering 101 countries, efficiency matters. A big part of Wolff's job is mapping out the legislative issues that cross multiple jurisdictions, and following the trend lines to make sure resources are allocated for optimum effect. (U.S. regulatory affairs are generally handled by Citi's legal department.)
Domestically, Wolff has leveraged her relationships with key legislators (she was deputy staff director for the Senate's Republican Policy Committee from 1996 to 2000) to position Citi as a thought leader on the issues, providing background information for hearings and offering up Citi economists and other specialists for briefings. But the biggest increase in activity for Wolff's office has been on the international side, in emerging markets especially, where financial issues have taken center stage.
In 2007, a group of Nashville investors put up $88 million to start CapStar Bank and recruited Claire Whitfield Tucker as its president and CEO. She opened the bank's doors in July 2008, but the inauspicious start date seems to have had little effect: with a mix of acquisitions and organic growth, CapStar last year expanded market share faster than any other bank in its home state of Tennessee, and assets are fast approaching the $1 billion mark.
CapStar turned profitable in the first quarter of 2011. Soon after, it brought in a veteran commercial lending duo from another market to build a commercial finance division; the department has grown to 10 employees and has been a catalyst, as well as a source of diversification, for CapStar's lending portfolio.
On the acquisition side, one of her first deals, for the Cool Springs branch of Community First Bank & Trust, got scuttled earlier this year after buyer and seller failed to reach an agreement on proposed modifications to the terms. But a merger with American Security Bank & Trust in nearby Sumner County was approved in June and is expected to close in October, with Tucker at the helm of the combined, five-branch company.
Tucker started in banking in 1975 as a trainee at First American National Bank, rising to president of the corporate bank two decades later. When the bank was bought by AmSouth in 1999, she stayed on as senior EVP overseeing commercial banking activities in six southeastern states and New York. She later joined the $1.7 billion-asset FirstBank as SVP for metro markets and president of the Nashville market. Last year, Tucker was appointed to a three-year term chairing the Sixth Federal Reserve District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, which meets semi-annually with the Fed's board of governors to discuss small banks' views on policymaking.
She has a long history of involvement in local charities and was a founding director of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.
As competitors continue to struggle with legacy commercial real estate assets, Diana Reid's real estate team at PNC Financial Services Group has kept its foot on the gas, refinancing $5 billion in maturing loans last year (while improving credit risk ratings on the assets) and coming up with 18 percent net loan growth in 2011. Key to Reid's success were two innovative strategies: she brought her team's know-how to new clients, such as private equity investors in distressed assets; and she created a program to deliver longer-duration funding to clients with stabilized CRE assets. That's an atypical offering, Reid says, and it required new credit policies and funding mechanisms. But the effort paid off in loan growth and market share.
We'll keep watching Reid as she responds to two potential game-changers in her world: risk-retention rules for securitized real estate loans and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As chief operating officer at MidWestOne Bank, Sue Evans is responsible for the day-to-day banking activities at MidWestOne Bank. And when the company's succession plan kicks in, she'll be responsible for all that and then some as CEO of the $1.7 billion-asset institution. Current CEO Charles Funk, who has no specific timetable for retirement, says Evans has been instrumental not only in running the revenue-generating aspects of the commercial bank, but in setting strategy, knocking down product silos and developing new lines of business such as trust, investments and insurance. Evans also led efforts to install a customer relationship management system across all of the company's 26 offices. It's expected to help the company lift the number of MidWestOne products or services per household from the current above-industry average of 3.03 to 3.10 by the end of this year.
The first quarter of 2012 was the strongest in the company's 78-year history, with net interest income (all generated by areas Evans oversees) up 14 percent from the year-ago quarter, while the efficiency ratio dropped below 60 percent for the first time in years.
Evans came to MidWestOne during its 2008 merger with Iowa State Bank & Trust Co. She chairs the board of trustees at the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado, where she was the first female trustee in the school's 62-year history, and she is on the board of SHAZAM, which provides ATM processing and other electronic funds transfer services to 1,500 financial institutions.
After a brief sabbatical following her exit from NewAlliance Bancshares, Peyton Patterson is back in an executive role and back on our ranking, where she has appeared six times before.
In September, Patterson took over as CEO of BNC Financial Group, the holding company for The Bank of New Canaan, The Bank of Fairfield and Stamford First Bank, in Connecticut. Patterson made six acquisitions in 10 years at NewAlliance, before selling the company to First Niagara Financial Group of Buffalo, N.Y. It's expected that her appetite for dealmaking will be just as voracious at BNC, which hired her specifically to execute a growth plan.