Most Powerful Women to Watch: Michelle Di Gangi, Bank of the West

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Head of Small and Medium Enterprise Banking

Michelle Di Gangi is building on her impressive track record leading small and midsize business lending at Bank of the West to tackle an even bigger job.

Leaders of the $100 billion-asset bank tapped Di Gangi to head a sweeping effort to knit together its business lines in a bid to deepen customer relationships, attract new ones and increase its market share in places where the bank sees the most opportunity.

To develop the new strategy, Di Gangi formed teams staffed with leaders from across Bank of the West. They came up with an approach that gave front-line staff a bigger voice in meeting the personal, wealth and business needs of their customers and prospects.

It was tested first in California through a pilot program that entailed creating and training six cross-functional sales squads, representing wealth management, small and medium enterprise banking, retail banking and other business lines. The pilot succeeded in helping bring in new customers and increase business with existing customers. Just as important, it earned rave reviews from employees, who enjoyed the more collaborative work environment. The program has since been rolled out in other markets.

The results should come as no surprise. Di Gangi’s forward-thinking approach has powered Bank of the West’s small and medium enterprise business since she took over the fledgling unit in 2008. The business line now accounts for almost 30% of the bank’s income and 25% of its fee revenue.

Di Gangi’s penchant for collaboration, meanwhile, extends to her work for the community. She recently partnered with Bank of the West’s corporate social responsibility arm to launch a program called #ActForImpact that offers coaching and other support to entrepreneurs hoping to make a positive social impact, with a special focus on businesswomen.

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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Commercial banking Small business lending Bank of the West Michelle Di Gangi Women in Banking