Lucky 13: The KeyCorp-First Niagara deal is upping the stakes for Beth Mooney. The chief executive of Key plans to remain at the helm of the combined company, which would make her responsible for the 13th largest U.S. commercial bank with $135 billion in assets. But first she'll have to prove it has the compliance expertise to handle such a large acquisition. This is Key's biggest deal since 2008 (which is before Mooney became CEO and took the Most Powerful Woman in Banking title).

Acquiring Minds: Speaking of M&A, Barclays vice chairman of investment banking Barbara Byrne says companies should consider doing acquisitions as a way to keep up technologically if their industry is on the verge of major changes that threaten to pass them by (as happened to Blockbuster and Kodak). She says of Kodak, "It didn't do M&A when it needed to." Byrne is our No. 3 Most Powerful Woman in Finance.

Inclusion Incentives: Some U.K. politicians are backing a proposal to peg executive bonuses at banks to the number of women those banks put in senior roles. Because "remuneration at senior levels in the financial community is target driven and paid in large measure through bonuses," it makes sense to incent executives to achieve gender equity, said one member of Parliament. The proposal is one of several presented to the Parliament by Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia. Ghadia is also urging banks to disclose data on female appointments to senior roles and to appoint executives to oversee diversity and inclusion efforts.

Family Matters: "I cannot and I will not give up my family time." This quote comes from a surprising source – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Suzanne Donohoe, head of Client and Partner Group at private equity firm KKR, penned an opinion piece about it, commending him for putting the struggle of work-life balance under new light, showing it's a parents' issue – not a woman's issue. "His desire to set boundaries, minimize weekend obligations and maximize time with his (young) family was so reminiscent of the internal dialogue women, particularly in finance, have with ourselves," she says.

Role Call

Flushing Financial has promoted newly hired executive Susan Cullen to chief financial officer, beginning in February. She has been chief accounting officer at the New York banking company since August.

Sandy Spring Bancorp in Olney, Md. has appointed Mona Abutaleb to a newly created seat on its board. Abutaleb is chief executive of tech outsourcing and cloud services provider mindSHIFT Technologies.

In Case You Missed It

How She Keeps Her Balance: In an interview with MarketWatch, JPMorgan Chase's Eileen Serra talks about how she keeps work and home separate ("I'm really good at compartmentalization; I'm a big believer in being here, now.") and how much she appreciates the support of her female colleagues at JPMorgan Chase ("I go to them even with something basic like, ‘I just did a terrible job in that meeting,' and they'll give me a pep talk."). She also shares her best advice for women who want to advance ("Have a point of view, have a voice, have a seat at the table."). Serra, Chase Card Services CEO, is No. 16 on our list of the Most Powerful Women in Banking.

Wall Street Watchdog: Global banks have paid $15 billion for making illegal money transfers in and out of Iran – thanks to Laura Billings, a formerprosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office and now at the Department of Justice. She dusted off an old file years ago when she was at the DA's office that eventually led to a string of 11 settlements, including one recently announced with Credit Agricole. Her inquiry began with a suspicion that the Iranian government was running New York-based Alavi Foundation in secret. She and her team ultimately determined that many banks were removing the names of their Iranian customers from transactions to allow them to move money in and out of the U.S. Among the banks that have paid fines for violating U.S. sanctions laws are Credit Suisse, Lloyds and Barclays.

Beyond Banking

Out of This World : Russia is planning to send an all-female crew on a trip to the moon in 2029. The country has only sent four women into space over the last 50 years, compared to the U.S.'s 49.

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