For bankers who want to wield power and influence, the CEO spot is still the coveted goal. But for those looking for different rewards - psychological, financial, or both - banking today offers more possibilities than ever.
Take Shedrick Barber. A senior vice president in charge of professional African-American market development for NationsBank Corp., Mr. Barber doesn't enjoy the prestige or paycheck of a CEO. But for sheer personal satisfaction, he said, his job cannot be beaten.
"I sleep well at night knowing the steps we're taking today will create jobs tomorrow," said Mr. Barber, 33. By lending to small businesses and nurturing entrepreneurs, Mr. Barber helps his beneficiaries hire others from their communities, igniting a chain reaction of economic growth.
Yvette Hyater-Adams, senior vice president of change strategies and development for CoreStates Financial Corp., said she gets similar satisfaction from her newly created job. The 35-year-old Ms. Hyater-Adams is something of a chief cultural officer for CoreStates, running programs designed to make the bank a better place to work.
"Some of our employees have said (the programs) made their lives better," Ms. Hyater-Adams said. "They have a new level of awareness of how they impact others, which has helped with their families."
Mr. Barber's and Ms. Hyater-Adam's positions are just several of the alternative career paths spawned by banking's new corporate culture. Nudged by laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, banks are trying to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. The effort has given birth to a wealth of new personally rewarding jobs.
Diversity is not the only new area of opportunity. For big bucks, head for the nearest trading desk.
Even run-of-the-mill traders can expect to pull down $300,000 a year, headhunters say. And those spearheading a commercial bank's push into investment banking, capital markets, or junk bond trading could easily command upward of $700,000 a year in salary and bonuses, said David Hoffman, chief executive of DHR International, a Chicago-based executive search firm.
The most elite traders - hotshot foreign exchange and derivatives jocks at New York money-center banks - routinely rake in more money than CEOs at smaller banks.
"At places like Bankers Trust and J.P. Morgan, going into seven figures is not unheard of for really good traders," said Terry Anwar, managing director with J. Gaines & Co., a New York executive recruiter.
"Income and status have shifted to high-profile investment experts" from senior bank management, Mr. Hoffman said.
Another new and lucrative job in banking: chief technology officer. Because of the rapid advance of cyberspace and the Internet, technoids - once relegated to the back office - are emerging as powerful strategic experts, commanding salaries of $500,000 to $1 million or more.
"What I like most about my job is that it's always changing," said John Voss, chief technology officer at Huntington Bancshares. "It's a continual learning exercise."