MICHAEL D. SCHAUER Senior vice president Valley National Bank, Phoenix

Few bankers have risen as far or as fast as Michael D. Schauer.

At 30, Mr. Schauer is a senior vice president and manager of retail lending at Valley National Bank of Arizona, the state's largest, with assets of $9.3 billion.

Mr. Schauer credits his rapid rise partly to a willingness to speak up and tackle high-risk jobs. "You have to make your wishes known," he says, " and not be afraid to assure somebody you can do the job."

Mr. Schauer, a Wisconsin native, graduated from Purdue University eight years ago with a master of science degree in industrial administration. He joined Citicorp Retail Services in Denver as a financial analyst and, within nine months, was put in charge of a $50 million portfolio of private-label credit-card loans in the Citicorp unit's San Francisco office.

Then Mr. Schauer was promoted to regional manager for Citicorp in Denver. The next logical step at Citicorp - moving to New York to begin the climb up the bank's corporate ladder - held little appeal for a young man already well along on the fast track. Instead, after two yeas, he got the itch to move on to something different and potentially risker, so he joined Michigan National Bank in Rapid City, S.D., as president of its credit card subsidiary.

By the time he left Michigan National in 1989, he was a senior vice president responsible for the banking company's $1.2 billion credit card portfolio and its $500 million installment loan business.

Valley National recruited him after Michigan National sold its credit card portfolio to Chase Manhattan Corp. Then 28, Mr. Schauer was a top manager in the mainstream consumer business of one of the nation's largest banks.

"I don't dwell on it," says Mr. Schauer, when asked about shouldering such big responsibilities barely eight years out of college. "I'd rather be judged on what I can do rather than how long I've been doing it. If I can do my job, then age shouldn't matter."

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