Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 7, JPMorgan Chase's Thasunda Duckett

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CEO, Chase Consumer Banking, JPMorgan Chase

LeBron James’ signature HFR X LeBron 16, a regal gold-highlighted athletic shoe that Nike launched in 2018, has a 3D-molded lion’s head logo on the heel that has been a feature of previous LeBron shoes.

But for last year’s shoe, Nike added a twist — this time the lion is roaring.

That image is an imprint of the ideas that came from four designers from the famed Harlem Fashion Row collective that James commissioned to honor the under-recognized strength of black women.

As part of the shoe’s promotion, Nike’s partner Essence assembled a social media campaign featuring 16 African-American women who fit that mold. Those recruited included gymnast Simone Biles, tennis legend Serena Williams and Thasunda Duckett, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase’s consumer banking business.

Duckett, or “T” as many friends and colleagues call her, represents a rare sight for many young black women following the campaign: a woman of color in the executive suites of the $2.6 trillion-asset JPMorgan Chase.

“I had a [black] man who called me and said he wept when he saw my picture because he was able to go home and show his girls, who looked like me, that they too can be a CEO,” she said.

Duckett, 46, has been CEO of the consumer unit for three years, encompassing the retail branch and wealth management of the nation’s largest bank. She oversees 48,000 employees and relationships with 26 million U.S. households.

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That responsibility will grow in the coming years as JPMorgan this year began an aggressive branch expansion into new markets where the nation’s largest bank has been absent — including Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C. (The company plans to have completed 90 branch openings by the end of the year, and ultimately around 400 within five years).

A minimum 30% of those branches will be in low-income communities, a target pushed by Duckett who often will share her own story of hardship and poverty growing up in Arlington, Texas. “This is not an exercise we are doing on the back end,” she said.

Duckett’s background has steered her career since she began working at Fannie Mae 23 years ago in the emerging markets sector of the business — a job that led to her arrival at JPMorgan in a similar affordable lending role before later being named national director for Chase Mortgage Banking and later CEO of Chase Auto Finance. This year she furthered her goal of improved financial education for minority communities when she helped launch the Currency Conversations initiative in partnership with Essence.

She has taken on mentorship roles as executive sponsor of the bank’s Advancing Black Pathways Program, and guides a charity she started in her parents’ honor providing scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit community organizations.

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