George Bernard Shaw once said “the power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” It’s this attitude many women have faced in banking over the years because they saw things so clearly, and acted on what their instinct told them was right, not on what was de rigueur.


That thinking gave way to big ideas—and big money. Keen on cutting their own paths in a money business, women have embraced banking, shouldering more responsibility, posting bigger returns, achieving greater power and gaining influence—at times in the face of controversy. In banking, like all of corporate America, influence derived from power is rooted in instinct, tenacity and performance, all of which are necessary to thrive and none of which come easy.

In its first-annual ranking of “The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking,” U.S. Banker pays tribute to the executives whose contributions to their institutions and their communities are most profound. With varying management styles and ways of generating increased shareholder value, brand equity and bottom-line performance, these 25 women personify power, business savvy and creative intelligence.

As part of its research for the ranking, USB reviewed 4,694 women of senior status (svp, evp, managing director, chief marketing officer, CIO, CFO, president, CEO and chairman) across institutions of all sizes. A candidate had to be employed by a group, division, bank or subsidiary company owned by a bank holding company.

Trimming the list to 1,000 women, the staff then considered the following quantitative and qualitative aspects of power: position and responsibility; financial performance (a CEO, for example, has overall financial responsibility for the bank or division, while a chief marketing officer contributes to the financial performance of a specific line of business or businesses); length of time in banking; career path; management style; ties to the community and the influence that one wields industrywide. Careful review and analysis of the final 200 candidates gave way to the 25 Most Powerful.
As part of this feature, USB also names “25 Women to Watch,” rising stars who are proof enough there’s more to come from this group

25 Most Powerful Women in Banking

1. Sallie Krawcheck, Chairman & CEO, Smith Barney
2. Marjorie Magner, Chairman & CEO, Global Customer Group, Citigroup
3. Marion Sandler, Co-CEO, Golden West Financial/ World Savings and Loan
4. Amy Brinkley, Chief Risk Officer, Bank of America
5. Deanna Oppenheimer, President, Banking and Financial Services Group, Washington Mutual
6. Heidi Miller, EVP & CFO, Bank One
7. Julia S. Gouw, Director, EVP & CFO, East West Bank
8. Susan Storey, Managing Director, CIBC World Markets
9. E. Lee Beard, President, CEO & Director, First Federal Bank of Hazleton PA/ Northeast Financial Corp.
10. Colleen Kvetko, President & CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Florida
11. Barbara Desoer, President of Consumer Products, Bank of America
12. Elizabeth James, Vice Chairwoman & CIO, Synovus
13. Susan Pittman Horton, President, CEO & Chairman, Wheatland Bank
14. Peyton Patterson, Chairman, President & CEO, New Haven Savings Bank
15. Ina Drew, Managing Director, Division Executive, Global Treasury Business, JPMorgan Chase
16. Carrie Tolstedt, Group Executive Vice President, Regional Banking, Wells Fargo
17. Kathy Thompson, Manager, Wealth Management Group, Stock Yards Bank & Trust
18. Cathy Bessant, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank of America
19. Doreen Woo Ho, President, Consumer Credit Group, Wells Fargo
20. Ranjana Clark, Evp, Head of Treasury Services, Wachovia
21. Patricia Moss, President & CEO, Cascade Bancorp
22. Karen McCormick, President & CEO, First Federal Savings and Loan Association
23. Debra Lins, President, CEO, & Director, Community Business Bank
24. Shirley Nelson, Chariman & CEO, Summit Bancshares
25. Rebecca Joan David, CEO, University Bank


25 Women to Watch

1. Janey Place, EVP Mellon Financial, President Mellon Lab & On-Line Services, Mellon Financial Corp.
2. Dina Dublon, EVP & CFO, JPMorgan Chase
3. Jill Denham, Vice Chair, Retail Markets, CIBC
4. Leslie Bains, Senior EVP, Head of Private Banking and Wealth Management Services, North America, HSBC Bank USA
5. Maura Markus, President, Citibank North America Retail Distribution Group, Citigroup
6. Cece Sutton, EVP & Head of Retail, Wachovia
7. Betsy Duke, EVP, Community Bank Development, SouthTrust
8. Susan Potter, EVP, Consumer Product Management, KeyCorp
9. Tammy Case, SVP, Senior Loan Officer, Business Banking, The Newton Trust Company
10. Debra Nichols, SVP of Women’s Financial Advisory service, Wachovia
11. Betsy Lawer, Vice chair and COO, First National Bank Alaska
12. M. Ann Thomas, President & COO, Woodforest National Bank
13. Barbara Ralston, President & CEO/ founder, Camelback Community Bank
14. Lesley Daniels Webster, EVP, Head of Market Risk Management and Fiduciary Risk Management, JPMorgan Chase
15. Carol Nelson, President & CEO, Cascade Financial Corp.
16. Leslie Godridge, Senior EVP, Head of Corporate Banking Sector, Financial Companies Sector, Retail Banking Sector and Global Strategic Sales, The Bank of New York
17. Maria Elena Lagomasino, Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Private Bank, JPMorgan Chase
18. Jean Davis, Senior EVP and Divison Head for IT, e-Commerce and Operations, Wachovia
19. Gayle Fawcett, SVP, Retail Banking Operations, Berkshire Bank
20. Jennifer Goldbach, President & CEO, First National Bank of North East
21. Jyotsna Heckman, President & CEO, Denali State Bank
22. Babette Heimbuch, Chairman & CEO, First Federal Bank of California
23. Diane Varrin Eshleman, Managing director & Chief Procurement Officer, Information Technology, JPMorgan Chase
24. Rebeca Romero-Rainey, Board Chair, President & CEO, Centinel Bank of Taos
25. Marti Tomson Rodamaker, President, First Citizens National Bank

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.