Cathy Bessant, the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, is No. 1 on American Banker's list of Most Powerful Women in Banking this year.

In accepting her award at the annual gala, she talked about the "nobility" of banking and how it helps change people's lives.

The event took place Thursday night at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Read more about it and see additional video clips here.

BESSANT: The real reason I love banking is the nobility of what we do. My team will tell you I use the word “nobility” all the time to talk about banking. We don’t make mortgage loans, we put families in homes. We don’t make small business loans, we create jobs. We don’t give access to capital markets, we structure balance sheets, and we raise capital to build economies and markets that are vital and work for the world. And we don’t manage wealth, we help families build their futures. My daughter, Meredith, when she four years ago asked me one day in these exact words, “Why you go working, mommy?” And I said to her exactly what I believe to this day, “I go to work to change the world.”