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10 to watch in 2017
Hard as it tries to move on from a phony account-opening scandal that exploded into public view 15 months ago, Wells Fargo just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines.

Over the past several months, the retail banking giant has been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that it improperly adjusted the terms of mortgage loans for borrowers who were in bankruptcy, acknowledged charging some 500,000 car-loan customers for auto insurance they did not want or need, and found, after an internal review, an additional 1.4 million accounts opened without customers’ permission, bringing the total to 3.5 million.

Keeping Wells Fargo honest is priority No. 1 for Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke, the bank’s incoming board chair and one of American Banker’s 10 people to watch for 2018. A former banker and Federal Reserve governor, Duke will become of the few female chairs at a large U.S.-based bank and the first-ever at the $1.7 trillion-asset Wells. Few would doubt her credentials, but doubts linger as to whether Duke, who joined Wells’ board in 2015, is independent enough to do what’s needed to help Wells regain the trust of employees and customers.

Other big players to watch in 2018 are fintechs in banking. Among the biggest of the disruptors is Square and Jack Dorsey, its founder and CEO, who stands at the center of the debate over whether fintechs deserve to be granted a bank charter.

Others to watch in 2018 include Terry Turner at Pinnacle Financial in Nashville, John Ciulla at Webster Bank in Waterbury, Conn., and Margaret Keane at Synchrony Financial.

Some are in new roles or replacing legends, others are embracing new strategies or eyeing big deals and at least one is currently out of banking — but could soon resurface. Here are the industry executives to keep an eye on in 2018.


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