What's the best way to rise quickly in the banking business? Judging from the following 40 profiles, there are many paths to success.

About half a dozen of these young bankers came up through the trading route, and an equal number made a name for themselves in retail banking.

That should be no surprise, given that both trading and retail banking have been major profit generators in the 1980s.

Unintentionally, several banking specialties came up equally represented on our roster: three senior financial officers, three technology specialists, three marketing experts, and three top officials at commmunity banks.

Two of our candidates got into banking the old-fashioned way: Their fathers owned the bank. But both men - Fredric Tordella and Pat Frost - earned kudos on their own.

Several of our 40-under-40 members raised their profiles by heading committees for trade associations, sometimes lobbying the government on behalf of their industry.

Mere resume building? Not necessarily. Remember, experience in Washington can be crucial once a banker makes it to the executive suite.

And that's exactly where many of these folks are headed.

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