IIt's not always that a long-time employee of one institution survives and thrives after its acquisition. But Diane D'Erasmo, who worked at Republic National Bank for 20 years before HSBC purchased the smaller bank in 2000, has seen her career accelerate.

Today, D'Erasmo is evp and regional president of commercial banking. Her responsibilities include business development and asset management for commercial companies in the Northeast region. She manages a team of 100 relationship managers and is responsible for 50 percent of the bank's business with commercial banking clients in the U.S. Despite an incredibly challenging economic environment, her unit is aiming at double-digit growth in 2008.

So far she is more than on track to accomplish just that. While operating results in the first half of 2008 for commercial banking in the U.S. were down-total revenues dropped a single percent to $522 million and net income tumbled 47 percent - D'Erasmo's unit was a bright light, posting double-digit gains across most financial metrics, even managing high-single digit, net-profit growth. HSBC does not publicly break out the numbers for D'Erasmo's unit.

"I love what I do, and I think it comes across," D'Erasmo says. She is energized by the varied people and businesses that she interacts with daily, and is "passionate" about customer focus, always searching for ways to better serve customers. She recounts with vim her recent attendance of the U.S. Open with a client where she bumped into a second client and made introductions. The pair got talking about a joint venture and planned to meet soon thereafter. "Our business is about a lot more than lending money; it's about relationships and adding value," she says.

This networking, writ on an international scale, is a key benefit HSBC brings to commercial banking clients increasingly looking to enter the global marketplace. While D'Erasmo heads the Northeast region in the U.S., she says HSBC is structured to encourage collaboration with counterparts around the world and other business segments. "My business is a global business. It reports into the U.S. and globally. It's a global business approach."

Among D'Erasmo's priorities is a commitment to mentoring women at HSBC and diversity in general. Since 2006 she has been the co-chair of the Women's Forum at the bank, which organizes mentoring, a speaker series, and external client events. She also sits on the Diversity Council, which looks for ways to encourage diversity at the bank and bring diversity to customers. It's important not just that managers be encouraged to interview diverse candidates, she says, but that women know there are resources for them to tap into.

Return to the 2008 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking

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