Bita Ardalan
EVP, Head of Commercial Banking for Western Markets, MUFG Union Bank

The Japanese-owned MUFG Union Bank has made no secret of its ambitions to become a top-10 lender in the United States, so it only made sense to put Bita Ardalan in charge of commercial lending in one of its most important regions. Ardalan is well-known around the company for delivering results. Case in point: the specialized lending group — which she founded in 2010 to target industries like aerospace, nonprofits and health care — was the fastest-growing division across all of commercial lending last year. Her momentum continued after she became the head of commercial banking on the West Coast in July 2013. In the second half of 2013, her group's total loans outstanding increased 32% when compared with the first half, while core earnings increased 10%.

Exceeding expectations has become something of a hallmark for Ardalan. She recently became an ambassador to the Looking Beyond Foundation, a women-run nonprofit that aims to improve the lives of children with special needs. At a gala in April, she and other volunteers set a fundraising record for the organization, taking in nearly $240,000 for special needs programs in the Los Angeles area.

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