The Women to Watch: No. 6, KeyCorp's Angela Mago

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President, Key Commercial Bank

A turning point in Angela Mago's career came in 2003 when she took a role at KeyCorp working out problem credits.

Mago to that point had always been on the business development side of banking and at the time was a team leader in KeyBank's health care lending practice. She was asked to move over to the credit risk side when the bank's senior housing portfolio started showing signs of stress, and she accepted because she believed the group's underwriting processes were weak and needed improvement.

It was "out of my comfort zone" and "several of my peers discouraged me from accepting the role, but I felt it was important to achieve long-term success," Mago said. "We needed to put our house in order for the viability of the business."

She was only in the workout role for about 18 months, but it turned out to be a career breakthrough.

Management recognized that Mago had strong risk management skills to go along with her skills as a lender and named her group head of the health care banking group. It was Mago's first time leading a business unit.

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She served in that role for eight years, until 2011, when she was promoted to group head of the commercial mortgage banking group. She has been promoted three more times since — to head of KeyBank Real Estate Capital, co-head of KeyCorporate Bank and, earlier this year, president of Key Commercial Bank.

Beth Mooney, KeyCorp's chairman and CEO, said that Mago's "proven leadership" led to her latest promotion. In 2018, the real estate capital group, which she continued to run after being named co-head of the corporate bank in 2016, generated record revenue of $1 billion as it helped clients raise $57 billion in capital and produced record mortgage banking volume. The corporate bank, of which real estate capital is a part, generated a record $2.2 billion of revenue.

As a longtime commercial real estate lender and one of highest-ranking women at Key, Mago has made it her mission to improve female and minority representation at both the bank and in her industry.

In 2015 she revamped the internship program within KeyBank Real Estate Capital to intentionally open it up to more women and minorities, and the results speak for themselves. Last year, more than half of the incoming class of interns were women and minorities, up from less than 20% four years earlier. All of the group's new hires will come from that class, Mago said.

"Building a diverse pipeline and investing in the development of our talent is the best way to change our industry," she said. "There is still more work to be done, but we are focused on making change."

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