Senior EVP, Chief Credit Officer, Regions Financial
Compassion isn't a word often associated with banking, but Barb Godin believes it should be. So a few years ago, Godin decided that, from here on out, Regions' collections associates would be called "customer advocates" and would be trained in teaching cash-strapped borrowers how to improve their credit scores. She also implemented a program that offers borrowers who are about to lose their homes through foreclosure up to $3,000 to put toward rent on another home. "Don't steal a customer's dignity just because they are having financial problems," she says. "Instead see what you can do to help them and, in turn, make a bad situation better for the customer and the bank."
Godin, who joined Regions as a consumer credit executive in 2003 and became its chief credit officer in 2010, is also doing her part to create jobs in Regions' communities. Last year she established a unit within her division to evaluate small-business and private-banking credits. Historically, such loans fell under the commercial banking unit and, in her view, weren't being assessed as thoroughly as they could have been. The result: potentially good, job-creating loans simply weren't being made. The unit is now up and running and is already having an impact. Wait times on call backs have been cut in half, approval rates have risen significantly and loss rates have dropped drastically, Godin says.