We are also pleased to present in this edition what some would consider our candidates for future Banker of the Year - our "40 Under 40." They are listed in alphabetical order.
This crop features a variety of bankers who see opportunity in adversity, and gladly wrestle with it. George Gilder, in a 1984 book called The Spirit of Enterprise, was describing such go-getters when he contrasted them with those he called "the entitled children." The entrepreneurs are people "who see that civilization is not routine or natural, that it swiftly declines and decays on 40-hour weeks, who know that to maintain a net profit in the world's accounts is a titanic cause."
He continued, "While the entitled children speak of an absence of worthwhile jobs, the entrepreneurs hold three jobs at one time. While the entitled children ache at the burden of laboring nine to five, the entrepreneurs rise before dawn and work happily from five to nine. While the entitled children complain that success comes from 'contacts' with the high and mighty - and talk of the frustrations of 'politics' - the entrepreneurs ignore politics and make their contacts with workers and customers. While the entitled children see failure as catastrophe - a reason to resign - the entrepreneur takes it in stride as a spur to new struggle."
I thought of this old-fashioned and yet stirring passage when I read the profile of Cecelia S. Gardner, head of consumer banking at First Union National Bank of South Carolina, who during her first week on the job made it a point to visit all of the bank's branches. She recalls coming home late one night and telling her husband, "This is why I wanted this job"
And so on. From retail banking to analyzing acquisitions, from real estate workouts to offering mutual funds, there are no timid souls in this 40-Under-40. You can hear them knocking, and they're coming in. Consider, for example, Debra McGinty-Poteet, a senior vice president of Bank of America. She runs the industry's biggest proprietary mutual fund operation - surely one of the hottest fields in the industry today. The bank is currently 26th among all funds ranked by assets. "Our goal within five years is to be in the top 10 of all mutual fund companies, or within shooting distance," she says. This is a bold call, and typical of our 40 Under-40.
Having been down and under siege for so long, the banking industry in 1993 has reason for tempered good cheer. The upswing we saw last year should continue, and according to some lights, will even pick up smartly.
Certainly the talent showcased here will make a difference. I look forward to your comments, and hope you enjoy the issue.