1. Beth Mooney
Chairman and CEO, KeyCorp
Beth Mooney, who began her banking career at Republic Bank of Texas in the 1970s, vividly recalls the days when she was the only woman in managers' meetings. Now, as one of the few women running a major banking companyand the only female CEO at a top 20 U.S.-based bankshe says she feels an obligation to nurture female talent. She's doing just that, announcing key hires and promotions of women, and pressing recruiters who work with the bank to provide more diverse slates of candidates in general.
She's also focused on what may be banks' greatest single challenge these days: growing revenue. She has addressed the issue head on by buying back a credit card portfolio, acquiring roughly three dozen branches in upstate New York and beefing up Key's commercial mortgage servicing portfolio. She's also spearheading an efficiency drive that puts the bank on pace to trim overhead by roughly $200 million a year through branch consolidation and other cost-cutting measures.
Those moves are a big reason by Key's share price is up nearly 40 percent over the past year, outpacing the KBW Bank Index and the Standard & Poor's 500.
2. Irene Dorner
Group Managing Director, HSBC Holdings; president and CEO, HSBC USA; director, HSBC North america holdings and hsbc bank USA
Irene Dorner, our No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in Banking in 2012, has seen her stock rise internally at HSBC, having been appointed in February as a group managing director of HSBC Holdings and as a member of the HSBC Group Management Board, which consists of 13 senior leaders who share responsibility for the daily operations of the company globally.
But it's been a tough go for the HSBC USA subsidiary she oversees, which got slammed in December with the harshest deferred prosecution agreement ever for a financial firm: $1.92 billion in penalties for violating anti-money laundering regulations.
Dorner, a Brit charged in 2010 with helping get the U.S. operation running smoothly again, has navigated the regulatory blows with her own credibility intact and positioned the company as one that is aggressively trying to correct its shortcomings. She enacted a risk review of all U.S. customers that resulted in HSBC exiting several hundred correspondent banking relationships. She also is in charge of implementing a more rigorous Know Your Customer program at HSBC USA and co-chairs an initiative to apply similar improvements across all 74 countries where HSBC operates. Mending the company's reputation with regulators and customers could take years, but Dorner appears to be making progress, having already earned praise from the U.S. Justice Department for the cultural changes she's trying to implement.