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Queens picks former BofA exec to head banking program

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- Photo courtesy of Queens University
From left: Ron Shiffler, dean of the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte; Tracy Grooms, former Bank of America executive; and Hugh McColl Jr., former CEO of the bank. On Tuesday, the university announced that Grooms will teach the courses under its new banking program.

A former Bank of America executive will head a new banking program at Queens University of Charlotte, which is launching the initiative to supply banks with graduates who can walk into management and other higher-level jobs.

Queens said Tracy Grooms will teach the undergraduate courses to be offered through the McColl School of Business, named after the former Bank of America chief executive who was on hand for the announcement Tuesday.

Hugh McColl Jr. praised Grooms, saying the two worked together for years.

“Everything we asked her to do, she did well,” McColl said. “What you see is what you get. I feel like this is going to be a success.”

Queens plans to make three banking courses available to students majoring in finance, a major being offered for the first time this fall semester.

McColl said the program is needed to help supply trained students to smaller banks, which he said sometimes struggle to find skilled employees.

The program will also provide students bank internships and could supply banks with research, university officials said.

Grooms’ first tasks will be shaping the program’s courses and building awareness of the program within the banking industries in North and South Carolina.

The first two banking courses are expected to be offered next spring. Grooms starts the job Oct. 1.

Becoming ‘a talent resource’

Queens was hoping to find a banking executive who might be leaving the industry or had recently left, not someone with a doctorate.

Grooms fits that profile.

She retired from Bank of America in March, after holding various positions with the bank, including student banking executive and, most recently, consumer and small business banking compliance executive.

She said her first banking job was with Columbia-based Bankers Trust, which was acquired in the mid-80s by Charlotte-based NCNB Corp., led by McColl.

NCNB would later merge with San Francisco-based BankAmerica Corp. to become Bank of America.

Grooms earned her master in business administration from Queens, where she’s served on the McColl school’s board of advisers.

Ron Shiffler, dean of the McColl school since August 2012, has spearheaded the creation of the banking program. A similar program was launched in 2006 at Georgia Southern University when he was a dean of the business school there.

After arriving at Queens, Shiffler said, he bounced the idea of creating a banking program off McColl.

“He says, ‘Makes perfect sense,’ ” Shiffler said. “ ‘You need to be a talent resource for the banking industry.’ ”

Also, Queens wants to stand out among the competition.

“Our business school did not really have a unique offering at the undergraduate level,” Shiffler said. “We have to differentiate ourselves.”

Shiffler said the program will fill banks’ needs for young people who can hold management and leadership positions.

“They need people who are going to be the next generation of bankers.”

‘A perfect mix’ of passions

Grooms and her husband are moving from Davidson to Uptown Charlotte, where she’ll be closer to work.

Grooms, 54, told the Observer she came to the decision to retire after re-evaluating her life. Her late father was a workaholic, she said.

“And so was I,” she said. “I decided to change that.”

She said the opportunity to work for the McColl school is a “perfect mix.” It’s the marriage of two of her passions, she said – her passion for the McColl school and her passion for banking.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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