First Bethany Bank


The women of First Bethany Bank & Trust prove you don't need big-bank backing to make big changes.

A trio of female senior officers significantly boosted the bottom line at the $181 million-asset Oklahoma bank with inventive tactics, while still making numerous investments in the community and in grooming their own staff for bigger roles.

With this kind of spirit, the First Bethany women rightfully take their place alongside those from much larger institutions being recognized here as Top Teams.

Jane Haskin, president and CEO of First Bethany, says she is proud of its performance through difficult economic times.

The bank achieved record profitability last year with a 26 percent jump in net income from the prior year, to $2.5 million. First Bethany had solid returns of 16 percent on equity and 1.1 percent on assets in 2011. The results were largely aided by some very proactive women who volunteered to scour the books, line by line.

Senior Vice President and Cashier Janet Connel saved the bank more than $100,000 annually by renegotiating the price on every major vendor contract last year. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Priscilla Cude's daily management of the securities portfolio resulted in sales gains of $125,000 last year and $627,000 so far this year.

Though First Bethany has only one branch, its target market-the Latino community-led it to become the first bank in the nation selected by TransCard to offer a reloadable prepaid card for the underbanked.

A handful of women at the bank also are heavily involved in local school systems and charity fundraisers. Connel helped another employee organize a charity bingo and auction event for an impoverished school in the area, raising $10,000. It was the first charity event and largest donation for the school.

Connel, Cude and Haskin also are Junior Achievement instructors for a financial literacy program called EverFi.

"We're really strong believers in financial literacy," says Haskin, who writes a financial column in the local newspaper every month.

"We've all been in banking for a long time, so if someone has a good idea, we try to encourage one another and recognize individuals for their talents," Haskin said.

One of those recent recognitions involved subsidizing the tuition for a young woman on staff at the bank to get her MBA from a local private university. The bank, despite its limited capacity, also has other leadership programs, sometimes partnering with outside organizations, to groom professionals for management roles.

Haskin, who says she was surprised to have her group recognized as a Top Team, was adamant all of her team's efforts are simply a part of everyday community banking.

"I've worked in larger banks and small banks and I just have a real passion for what community banks do," says Haskin, a 34-year industry veteran. "Sometimes you think, 'Oh well, I'm just a small bank,' ... but we have a niche that we service, and our model might not work well for a large bank, but it works well for us."

Jane Haskin
, President and CEO
Priscilla Cude, EVP and CFO
Janet Connel, SVP and Chief Cashier

Headquarters: Bethany, Okla.
2011 Assets: $180.9 million
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 3 of 5 total
No. of Female Management/Operating Committee Members: 6 of 9 total

Zions First National Bank


In her career as a business banker, Lori Chillingworth has had opportunities to move into the big-bonus arena of large commercial lending and private banking services. But the Zions First National Bank executive says her gut instead pulled toward helping the little guy, where the bonuses may be less remunerative but the experience no less rewarding.

"I'm lucky to be at a point where I can take my several decades of experience of lending in this area and create an entire business line around this focus," says Chillingworth, who since 2010 has headed a revamped small-business banking division at Zions, where mom-and-pop clients are served by retail branch staff with a hands-on approach.

Chillingworth's work, part of the retail banking division overseen by Executive Vice President LeeAnne Linderman, is emblematic of the impact women leaders have across P&L units within parent company Zions Bancorp.

Julie Castle, chief operating officer of Zions' Contango Capital Advisors, increased revenue in wealth management by 12.4 percent in 2011. Susan Speer built the largest private-banking business in Utah by cross-selling an average of six products per household to affluent clients.

Women make up almost half of the corporate officer roster at Zions (453 out of 1,145) and five hold seats on the 16-member executive management team. The corporate divisions and regional markets headed by women have helped the bank achieve 22 percent market share in Utah, as well as impressive gains in its secondary market in Idaho, where Zions has moved into the No. 3 spot under regional retail head Toni Nielsen.

Where Zions really makes its mark, though, is in SBA lending. Chillingworth has helped continue Zions' streak of 18 consecutive years as Utah's top underwriter of loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Last year she created an SBA Resource Group in all seven retail regions of the bank to help with loan applications, which contributed to more than 500 approved SBA 7(a) loans in Utah totaling $77.3 million. The SBA data shows that the loans across Utah and Idaho helped fuel 1,449 new jobs, Zions says.

Julie Castle
, Chief Operating Officer, Contango Capital Advisors
LeeAnne Linderman, EVP, Retail Banking
Lori Chillingworth, EVP, Small Business
Diana Kirk, EVP, Learning and Diversity
Susan Speer, EVP, Private Banking
Chantel Chase, SVP, Area President
Jennifer Christopulos, SVP, Commercial Relationship Manager
Melisse Grey, SVP, Product Management
Gena Jones, SVP, Credit Administration
Becky Kearns, SVP, Resort Bank Region President
Renee Miller, SVP, Area President
Cecilia Mitchell, SVP, SBA Lending Manager
Toni Nielson, SVP, Western Idaho Region President
Nancy Olson, SVP, Regional Credit Administrator
Cristie Richards, SVP, Retail Strategies
Kim Soper, SVP, Private Banking Relationship Manager
Kristy Walker, SVP, Commercial Relationship Manager

Headquarters: Salt Lake City
2011 Assets: $16.4 billion
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 453 of 1,145 total
No. of Female Management/Operating Committee Members: 5 of 16 total

BMO Financial


Harris Bank in Chicago had been an institution at the forefront of promoting and assigning women to key posts including top P&L roles. That drive continued with the acquisition of Milwaukee's Marshall & Ilsley Corp. The merger closed last year and led to the creation of BMO Harris Bank, as the Harris and M&I operations are now jointly known.

Several female M&I executives stepped into leadership positions, including Ann Benschoter, the executive vice president of personal and commercial banking, and Roberta Drews, senior vice president and manager of treasury management.

Benschoter previously headed commercial banking for M&I, and Drews was known for her role in helping rebuild its treasury services, a task that involved major core operation platform replacements. Now Drews is in charge of combining the Harris and M&I teams, and their products, into a cohesive, BMO Harris-branded outfit.

Executives from the Harris side of the merger deployed for special duty in integrating the two banks include Mary Jo Herseth and Christy Horn. Herseth, a senior vice president for private banking, met with every one of the 115 private bankers being merged into the combined entity. Horn, who leads the integration of personal and small-business lines at the new organization, had to emerge within 120 days of the acquisition's close last year with new branding and product changes for the small-business line. And one of the major chores in the field belonged to Kara Kaiser, a regional president for BMO Harris' southeast Wisconsin market, who had to look after the conversion of 60 M&I branches.

An important constant through all the changes is Ellen Costello, who led Harris for five years before moving up, just as the M&I merger closed in July 2011, to become CEO for the U.S. holding company, BMO Financial Corp.

While running Harris, she placed women in managing director roles overseeing food and consumer banking (Erica Kuhlmann), FX sales (Debbie Rechter), and capital markets (Susan Wolford), as well as in SVP positions overseeing private banking (Herseth, along with Pamela Dean), marketing (Justine Fedak) and product operations (Lois Robinson), among many others.

BMO Financial Corp. is a subsidiary of Canada's BMO Financial Group.

Ellen Costello
, CEO, BMO Financial Corp and U.S. Country Head
Cecily Mistarz, EVP, Integration Management Director
Ann Benschoter, EVP, Personal and Commercial
Susan Wolford, Managing Director and Group Head of the BMO Capital Markets' Business and educational Services Group
Erica Kuhlmann, Managing Director, Head of Food and Consumer Banking Group
Debbie Rechter, Managing Director, Head U.S. FX Sales
Mary Jo Herseth, SVP, National Head of Banking, Harris Private Bank
Pamela Dean, SVP, Senior Managing Director, Harris Private Bank
Deirdre Drake, SVP, Head of Human Resources
Roberta Drews, SVP and Manager, Treasury Management
Christy Horn, SVP, Strategic Initiatives and Integration for Personal and Small Business
Justine Fedak, SVP, Marketing
Katie Kelley, SVP, Group Managing Director, Commercial Banking
Deborah Korompilas, SVP, National Head of Trust and Estate Settlement Services
Margie Lawless, SVP, Head of Small Business Strategy
Erin Norton, SVP, Business Banking Risk
Daniela O'Leary-Gill, SVP, Personal and Small Business Strategy
Gail Palac, SVP and Chief Auditor, U.S. Operations, Harris Financial Corp.
Pamela Piarowski, SVP Finance, Harris Financial Corp.
Judith Rice, SVP, Head of Community Affairs and Economic Development
Lois Robinson, SVP, U.S. Product Operations
Connie Stefankiewicz, SVP, North American Customer Contact Centers
Cynthia Ullrich, SVP, Strategic Initiatives and Integration Business and Commercial Banking
Kara Kaiser, Regional President, Southeast Wisconsin
Julie Curran, Regional President

Headquarters: Chicago
2011 Assets: $117.4 billion
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 1,525 of 3,404 total
No. of Female Operating Committee Members: 23 of 76

RBS Citizens


Commitment to women is part of the heritage at RBS Citizens-its lineage includes the Women's Savings and Loan Co. of Cleveland, which in 1922 became one of the first U.S. banks started and operated by women. But it's the more recent initiatives that make RBS Citizens a team worth noting this year.

Having swung back to two years of profitability after a money-losing 2009, the company, led by CEO Ellen Alemany, has put new emphasis on steering women up through the management ranks. As a result, female representation in senior management climbed in 2011 from 14.3 percent to 23.6 percent, and today women account for four of the 12 executive committee members and four of the company's 10 directors.

Two women-led business lines-Maria Tedesco's retail and business banking group and Cheryl Nolda's home lending solutions group-are working particularly closely to carry out the company's efforts to break down product silos and deepen ties with individual customers. Now nearly 90 percent of home-equity customers also have deposit relationships.

In risk management, Chief Risk Officer Nancy Shanik, a Citi veteran like Alemany who came to RBS Citizens two years ago, set to work centralizing risk IT, reporting, analytics and modeling. She also realigned the compliance teams with all of the major business lines, and her group found a way for RBS Citizens to make room on its balance sheet for syndicated financings in which it is lead arranger. The extra capacity has helped make the fledgling capital markets group more competitive; the group was a top 10 arranger of middle-market loans in its footprint last year.

Dawn Dupre has driven strong growth as the head of CCO Investments, the full-service brokerage and investment advisor unit. She recently worked with Chief Marketing Officer Theresa McLaughlin on an internal campaign to offer Citizens' bankers a complimentary personal financial planning session, which helped boost referral rates.

Women represent half the members of a newly launched Diversity Recruitment Council, which is working with community groups, state agencies and career fair organizers to build an even stronger pipeline of job candidates that reflect the company's diversity goals. And a women's network started last year by two executives in the business services group was expanded this spring to reach across the enterprise, with 300 women-including Alemany-participating in its first company-wide event.

RBS Citizens also has seen strong results from a supplier diversity program, improving its inclusion rate for women- and minority-owned vendors from 55 percent to 75 percent in 2011. Additionally, the firm launched a Women Owned Business Mentor Protégé program, inviting female business owners to apply online for a mentor at the company.

Ellen Alemany
, Chairman & CEO
Dawn Dupre, President, CCO Investments
Maria Tedesco, EVP, Retail and Business Banking
Lauretta Chrys, EVP, Head of Premier Banking
Theresa McLaughlin, Group EVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Barbara Cottam, EVP, Head of Corporate Affairs
Nancy Shanik, Group EVP, Chief Risk Officer
Claire Costa, SVP, Director of Corporate Tax
Kathleen McCarthy, Head of Litigation
Laura O'Hara, General Counsel for Consumer Banking
Cheryl Ann Nolda, Group EVP, President, Home Lending Solutions
Christel Sulpizio, SVP, CIO Technology, Commercial Banking
Jeannine Jarvis, SVP, Head of Commercial Banking Client Services
Jane Post, EVP, Marketing Brand Director
Glenna M. Hagopian, EVP, Chief Operations Officer
Margaret Burgess, EVP, Head of Risk Re-Engineering
Fang Du, EVP, Director of Model Risk Management Validation
Susan LaMonica, Human Resources Director
Cindy Erickson, EVP, Head of Human Resources
Lucille Cavan, EVP, Senior Human Resources Business Partner
Virginia Bonaro, EVP, Head of Commercial and Consumer Operation
Joanne Wyper, SVP, Head of Commercial and GTS Operations

Headquarters: Providence, R.I.
2011 Assets: $129.8 billion
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 3,557 of 7,320 total
No. of Female Operating Committee Members: 4 of 12 total

U.S. Bancorp


By all accounts, U.S. Bancorp is a standout in the banking industry, shaking off the financial crisis with enviable strength.

The $353 billion-asset Minneapolis company boasts that it is the most profitable in its peer group, as measured by return on average assets and return on average common equity, and that its ratings are among the highest in the industry from all four major rating agencies. (It says the ratings are also the highest of its peers, a group of nine companies with a similar business mix, mostly regionals like PNC, SunTrust and BB&T.)

The company earned $4.9 billion last year, up 47 percent from 2010, and it continues to do well this year.

Among the many people who share credit for its outstanding performance are 82 women who hold the title of senior vice president or higher.

Really-82. To try to pare down the list would be to lose someone who deserves to be there. From Kathryn Albright to Ann Yekaldo, they all played a role.

Albright, national sales manager for the commercial real estate deposit and payments solutions group at U.S. Bank, leads a 40-person team that grew revenue from treasury management and payment solutions by 12 percent and client deposits by 15 percent during 2011.

Yekaldo, president of U.S. Bank's private clients group for metropolitan markets, created and implemented a strategy to grow affluent banking and trust business in the consumer banking division. The initiative is getting results: In 2011, the number of affluent clients with investment assets at the company increased by more than 7 percent from the prior year.

Practically every area of the company can tout the influence of female leaders in some way-including major lending operations. The 150 employees on U.S. Bank's Small Business Administration team, led by Julie Huston, set a new company record for loan approvals with a total of $630 million for the SBA fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, a remarkable 123 percent increase from the prior fiscal year. At U.S. Bank Home Mortgage-where women oversee many key areas, including operations (Kathy Bevis), systems (Sharon Immer), retail production (Marla Mayne) and risk services (Kathryn Raymer)-total production exceeded $52 billion last year.

Beyond business results, the women of U.S. Bancorp also impress with the extent to which they give back. Karen Canon, chief regulatory counsel, had a lot to keep her busy last year, leading a strategic initiative to restructure how the company tracks new regulatory demands. But as the founder and chair of the pro bono committee, she also oversees participation of the company's 140 U.S.-based attorneys and paralegals in volunteer work, partnering with community organizations to provide free legal services to low-income individuals.

The women of U.S. Bancorp have outperformed consistently, earning a team award every year that they've applied for one. Yet they keep getting better every time.

Elaine Baker, Jennie Carlson, Stacey Dodson, Jean Fichtel, Valerie Heller, Kathryn Albright, Charlene Altman, Dana Armour, Kathy Bevis, Beth Blaisdell, Mary Blegen, Mary Burchette, Deborah Burke, Karen Canon, Diane Carney, Teresa Caspary, Lucille Conley, Julie Cornelius, Deanna Corona, Marsha Cruzan, Amy Dawson, Anne Donahue, Catherine Dudley, Frankie Eichenberger, Caroline Fortmeyer, Carol Gilstrap, Lisa Glover, Leslie Godridge, Lynn Heitman, Deborah Hill, Julie Hilt, Jayne Hladio, Christine Hobrough, Elizabeth Hund, Amy Hurd, Julie Huston, Sharon Immer, Elizabeth Isphording, Carol Jacobsmeyer, Cynthia Jensen, Danette Johnson, Marianne Johnson, Karen Jonas, Terry Jones, Rita "Mary" Jones, Pamela Joseph, Eve Kaplan, Nancy Kasparek, Felicia La Forgia, Shannon Levang, Charlotte Manison, Marla Mayne, Katherine Miller, Dorothy Mitchel, Arlene Mockapetris, Sally Mullen, Marlene Murphy, Judith Murphy, Catherine Myers, Karen Myers, Judi Nevonen, Brigid O'Callaghan, Mary Olson, Glenna Olson, Ellen Peterson, Jennifer Powell, Karen Racusin, Kathryn Raymer, Lynn Richtman, Kathleen Rogers, Mary Ruble, Jeanne Rudelius, Elizabeth Schweger, Ann Smith, Lori Soren, Heidi Steiger, Lori Tomasovic-Dizes, Judith Verb, Christine Waldron, Malia Wasson, Mary Michelle Weisenbach, Kareina Westlund, Jeanne Whitbeck, Ann Yekaldo

Headquarters: Minneapolis
2011 Assets: $340.1 billion
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 6,171 of 12,519 total
No. of Female Operating Committee Members: 2 of 13 total

Wells Fargo & Co.


Even surrounded by an entire team of women who stand out, Debra Rossi is someone you'll notice. As head of Wells Fargo Merchant Services, Rossi runs one of the largest payment processing businesses in the nation, and she is one of 31 women who helped her parent company earn a team award this year. Under her leadership, the merchant services business has grown from $4 billion in annual credit and debit card sales processing in 1992 to $160 billion in 2011.

Lucia DiNapoli Gibbons is another person you'll notice. As the bank's regional president for Northern New Jersey, she leads an initiative to increase market share among Hispanics. The program began as a pilot and is now considered a best practice at the company.

Hispanics make up 20 percent of the population in Gibbons' region, and the household acquisition rate in this customer segment is now disproportionately large, an achievement she credits in part to strong collaboration and execution. Her initiative includes efforts to staff branches with bilingual employees and to reach out to Spanish-language media.

Gibbons is not the only woman at Wells Fargo to try a new approach that ultimately got adopted more broadly within the company-you'll notice this, too.

Laura Schulte, the Eastern Community Bank regional president, oversees more than 40 percent of Wells' geographic footprint, covering most states east of the Mississippi from Connecticut to Florida. She is responsible for 2,700 branches with about $205 billion in deposits, and led her region in completing the largest bank conversion in U.S. history with the Wachovia merger, doing so without significant negative impact on its 9.5 million customer households there.

The 2011 conversion put a lot of emphasis on customer service, with extra staffing and a rigorous training schedule that included group practice nights. The efforts paid off in the quick rebound of customer service scores, Schulte says. Following the switch in local systems, the scores dipped, but recovered within 90 days.

Yet another example of smart strategic thinking is a customer segmentation strategy in the merchant services business led by Rossi.

Her approach yielded multiple best practices for the company, including one with the Premier Service Team, originally created to provide relationship managers to customers. The team introduced a new model to improve retention and satisfaction, identifying important loyal customers and upgrading them to more personalized support, including added loyalty rewards and a dedicated expert advisor to actively manage their account. The new model is credited with improving customer retention by 8.5 percent, compared with customers who are not part of the program.

The role women played in developing so many best practices is a key factor in Wells earning a team award for a third consecutive year.

So is its emphasis on diversity. Jimmie Paschall joined Wells to lead its diversity and inclusion efforts in January. She works with the Diversity Council, headed by John Stumpf, Wells' chairman, president and CEO, to foster an inclusive culture, stepping up the extensive work already underway.

The council initiated many projects last year, ranging from an executive mentoring program for women and people of color that allows them to work directly with an executive outside their line of business, to a leadership program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff, similar to existing programs for black, Hispanic and Asian leaders. The council even implemented diversity goals for its senior executives that are tied to incentive compensation plans. Now that's a practice other companies ought to notice.

Debra Rossi, Laura Schulte, Mary Coffin, Caryl Athanasiu, Mary Bell, Pat Callahan, Julie Caperton, Pamela Conboy, Christine "Christi" Deakin, Lesley Eckstein, Shelley Freeman, Lucia Gibbons, Leslie Hayes, Michelle Lee, Mary Mack, Avid Modjtabai, Jamie Moldafsky, Deborah "Dee" O'Donnell, Laurie Nordquist, Joy Ott, Larisa Perry, Karla Rabusch, Suzanne Ramos, Lisa Riley, Brenda Ross-Dulan, Laura Schupbach, Diane Schumaker-Krieg, Diana Starcher, Lisa Stevens, Carrie Tolstedt, Karen Wimbish, Kim Young

Headquarters: San Francisco
2011 Assets: $1.3 trillion
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 1,742 of 5,798 total
No. of Female Operating Committee Members: 15 of 76 total

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