Erika Marquez, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking | Most Powerful Women: Next

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Vice president in the global trade finance department

While working in the global trade finance department at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in New York, Erika Marquez found herself continually puzzled by how the bank was pricing particular transactions.

Bringing a background as a credit officer to her new role as a specialist in export credit agency products, she felt sure that the Japanese bank's internal pricing model was overestimating the risk of loans backed by government guarantees.

Marquez took the initiative to dig into the pricing model and discovered an anomaly that was causing the bank to treat the loans as though they required significantly more regulatory capital than they actually did.

With the support of her manager, Marquez shared what she discovered with various bank departments that had a stake in the issue. She went on to develop a proposal to formally review the pricing model and its impact on the bank's performance, and to formulate a solution.

Her work earned her a spot as one of the 15 women on our inaugural Next list. (An extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program, the list is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.)

Sumitomo Mitsui decided to act on Marquez's recommendation to review the pricing model, and she was given a leadership role in the effort. She formed a team of stakeholders from across the bank that worked over a 12-month period to find a new approach.

The result was a revised pricing model that allows the bank to offer better terms on government-guaranteed loans without significantly increasing risk.

"Erika is particularly adept at working across teams and across levels," as evidenced by her success with the pricing initiative, said Hiromitsu Yoshizawa, the head of global trade finance for the Americas.

Erika has the rare ability to excel at both business development and implementation.
— Hiromitsu Yoshizawa, head of global trade finance for the Americas

Senior management expects the new pricing model not only to make Sumitomo Mitsui more competitive in the market for export credit agency financing, but also to have an even broader impact.

The model will apply to other products the bank offers, outside of the global trade finance department, with the expectation of more business opportunities and increased profitability.

Nominating executive: Hiromitsu Yoshizawa, the head of global trade finance for the Americas

What he says: “Erika’s get-it-done attitude is a positive influence among all that work with her,” Yoshizawa wrote in nominating her for the Next list. He is impressed by how Marquez identifies and harnesses the talents of others, but said her voracious "natural curiosity" is what makes her truly unique among her peers. He added that she has “the rare ability to excel at both business development and implementation.”

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