Bank Watch

Charlotte bankers reappear on ‘Most Powerful Women’ list

Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer for Bank of America, ranked No. 6 on American Banker’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” list, released this week. Bessant is based in Charlotte.
Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer for Bank of America, ranked No. 6 on American Banker’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” list, released this week. Bessant is based in Charlotte. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Two high-ranking women bankers based in Charlotte have once again made publication American Banker’s annual ranking of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking.”

Bank of America’s Cathy Bessant and Andrea Smith placed higher in the newest rankings, announced this week, compared with their rankings last year.

Bessant, the Charlotte-based lender’s chief operations and technology officer, earned sixth place this year, up from seventh last year. Smith, Bank of America’s chief administrative officer, ranked 20th, up from 22nd.

Bessant and Smith are among CEO Brian Moynihan’s 13 direct reports. Both were elevated in July as part of a reorganization of the bank’s top executives.

In the shuffling, Bessant joined the ranks of Moynihan’s other lieutenants with “chief” in their titles. Smith also gained a “chief” title in becoming CAO. Her previous title was global human resources executive.

According to American Banker, the ranking recognizes the most influential female leaders in the banking industry.

The other Bank of America executives on this year’s list:

▪ Anne Finucane, global chief strategy and marketing officer, who as part of the July shuffling was named vice chairman. She ranked 12th, up from 13th last year. Finucane is based in Boston.

▪ Anne Clarke Wolff, head of global corporate banking and global leasing, is based in New York. She ranked 22th, up from 23rd.

Some Wells Fargo bankers also reappeared on this year’s list:

▪ Carrie Tolstedt is head of community banking and based in San Francisco, where Wells Fargo is headquartered. She ranked fourth, up from fifth last year.

▪ Avid Modjtabai is head of consumer lending and based in San Francisco. She ranked fifth, up from sixth last year.

Also this week, American Banker released its annual “25 Women to Watch” list. Charlotte-based Diane Morais, president and CEO of Ally Bank, made her first appearance on the list, ranking ninth.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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