Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 17, U.S. Bancorp's Leslie Godridge

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Vice Chairman and Co-Head of Corporate and Commercial Banking, U.S. Bancorp

Leslie Godridge is pushing U.S. Bancorp to the cutting edge in corporate payments.

Godridge has been instrumental in preparing U.S. Bancorp for the industrywide shift to faster payments, including championing her company’s involvement in the roll out of a real-time payments platform by The Clearing House. Last fall, U.S. Bancorp was one of two banks, along with BNY Mellon, to conduct the nation’s first real-time transaction.

Additionally, under her direction, U.S. Bancorp last fall was one of the first companies in the industry to make Zelle — the real-time, peer-to-peer payments platform — available to treasury management customers, insurance payouts, emergency payroll disbursements and other purposes.

Driving innovation is just part of Godridge’s wide-ranging remit at U.S. Bancorp, where she is in charge of a division that serves corporations, banks, government agencies and nonprofits. Last year, her division accounted for 17% of U.S. Bancorp’s total earnings.

Godridge joined U.S. Bancorp company in 2007, and has been credited with making the Minneapolis company’s commercial division a major player on the national stage in capital markets and other areas. Her division, notably, was rebranded late last year to “corporate and commercial banking” from “wholesale banking.”

Godridge credits her success at U.S. Bancorp, in part, to her relationship with a friend and mentor, Diane Thormodsgard, whom she met during her first week on the job.

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Thormodsgard — who retired in 2010, and was previously head of corporate trust and securities services — invited Godridge to lunch, and the two women quickly hit it off. Thormodsgard gave her advice on how to get things done, and also provided the necessary backstory on challenges that arose. The two women relied on each other to informally share ideas.

Godridge said their relationship shows that effective mentorship is often the result of authentic friendship.

“It was never a formal mentor-mentee relationship, but it grew out of the common business interests we shared and the trust we developed in working so closely together,” Godridge said.

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