In our reporting at American Banker, we naturally spend a lot of time talking to CEOs. After all, the person at the helm is responsible for the direction of the company, and a CEO's broad perspective aligns with our mission of providing our readers with in depth analysis of the banking industry.

But we know CEOs — particularly the best ones — are not running their banks alone. They are flanked by other members of the C-suite in maneuvering the choppy waters of new regulations, low interest rates, a tepid economy, ever-changing technology, daunting cyber risks and fickle customer attitudes.

We wanted to get to know those key players better. So we are going to spend the next several months examining other parts of the C-Suite in an effort to give our readers deeper insights into the banking industry, the people who are making it work and the issues they face.

Our first report looks at the chief financial officer. You'll learn about how the job has been elevated given the premium placed on solid financial information following the economic collapse of 2008. You'll find out where CFOs wish they could spend more time. And you'll get to know some of the industry's rising stars — young CFOs who earned their stripes during the dark days following the financial crisis.

As part of this project, American Banker Research conducted a survey of CFOs among our readership. Insights from the proprietary research are featured in a slideshow gallery and throughout the articles in this special report. Similar surveys will be conducted for other parts of the C-Suite in the coming months.

Look for our special reports on the chief marketing office in June, the chief risk officer in July and the chief technology and information officer in August.

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