Most Powerful Women in Banking: Anne Finucane, Bank of America

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Vice Chairman

When protests and civil unrest over police brutality and racial inequality spread across the country this summer, Bank of America did more than just talk about the issues.

The nation’s second-largest bank doubled a broad racial equality initiative it had in the works, committing $1 billion to a range of causes spanning health care to housing. It also issued a $1 billion corporate social bond entirely focused on raising capital to lend to the health care industry amid the COVID-19 crisis. And it pledged $250 million in new capital to community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions to lend to small businesses and nonprofits.

Anne Finucane, who leads the company’s environmental, social and governance strategy, has been a driving force behind each of those decisions. Much of her experience up until now has prepared her for this moment. She has steered BofA through thorny issues in the recent past, from Brexit to its decision to quit financing private prisons and certain types of gun manufacturers.

Many of the BofA’s employees have been touched by tragedies, from wildfires to hurricanes to mass shootings. Those past crises have helped Finucane develop a sort of crisis-response blueprint.

“You begin to, unfortunately, create a muscle memory of how you deal with a crisis, what’s going to be needed immediately and what’s going to be needed in the longer term,” said Finucane, who is also the chairman of the board for Bank of America Europe

In the near term, the emphasis is on funding organizations that can do more testing and contact tracing for COVID-19. In the long term, it’s on accessible treatment for coronavirus patients and a vaccine. “The health care work we are doing through our $1 billion is especially for people who don’t usually get helped,” she said.

For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.

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