Corporate executives never seem to tire of using sports analogies to describe their businesses. But Richard K. Davis, the chairman and chief executive of U.S. Bancorp, put one to vivid use this week in characterizing his company's game plan in the years leading up to the credit crisis.

"We had the best goalie, we had the best back line … and we even put our forwards on defense," he told investors at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference. "Nobody scored on us."

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