April Frazer, Wells Fargo | Most Powerful Women: Next

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Head of banks for the corporate and investment banking unit

April Frazer describes herself, forthrightly, as a very driven person. Which may explain how she became global head of banks at Wells Fargo before her 37th birthday.

The job title was a new one when Frazer was appointed in October 2017. She was asked to lead a team of more than 50 people inside the financial institutions group, which works with banking clients worldwide.

Shortly after being named to the position, Frazer created a consulting team that offers insight not only to clients but also within the San Francisco bank itself. As interest rates rose in 2018, members of the team provided guidance on the deposit funding strategies banks should adopt.

"They're very much instrumental in trying to help our clients think through these key dynamics that are impacting our industry right now," said Frazer, who is one of 15 women selected for our inaugural Next list. (This extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.)

Frazer's success in the newly created role led to its expansion in March — beyond just the financial institutions group, to the larger corporate and investment banking unit.

This type of work was a logical next step for Frazer, who was still in her early 20s when she joined Wachovia's investment banking group.

Early in her career, Frazer spent several years working in Wachovia's debt capital markets unit, where her work provided a front-row seat to the financial crisis.

"April is thoughtful, strategic, prepared, and knows how to focus on the activities that will make an impact to drive the business forward." — Lisa McGeough, Co-head of the corporate and investment banking unit

Amid the subsequent wave of new regulations, Frazer remade herself as an expert in how the revamped rules would impact markets. "The team that I was working on," she recalled, "went through all of the details of everything that came out from the regulators."

That fine-grained work was used not only inside of Wells Fargo, which acquired Wachovia in 2008, but also offered to banks globally that were trying to get a handle on issues like stress testing and resolution planning. "I've had a dynamic career," Frazer said, adding that her goal is to continue to grow, both professionally and personally.

Nominating executive: Lisa McGeough, co-head of Wells Fargo's corporate and investment banking unit

What she says: Frazer has all the attributes of a future C-suite leader, according to McGeough. “April is thoughtful, strategic, prepared, and knows how to focus on the activities that will make an impact to drive the business forward,” McGeough wrote in nominating Frazer for the Next list.

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