American Banker Honors The Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance for 2017

Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America, Tops the 15th Annual Ranking

NEW YORK, NY – (September 25, 2017)American Banker has announced the honorees for its 15th annual Most Powerful Women in Banking awards program.

Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, is ranked No. 1 on the Banking list this year. Bessant is leading her company through the digital revolution that is upending the banking sector and is a thought leader in the industry. The 1,000-person team she leads represents roughly half of B of A’s workforce.

“Bestowing the top honor on Bessant this year reflects the increasing interrelationship of strategy and technology in the banking industry,” said Executive Editor Bonnie McGeer, who chairs American Banker’s Women in Banking Editorial Committee. “She isn’t just a leader at one of the largest banks in the banking industry, she is a leader at one of the largest technology companies.”

American Banker’s work to recognize the role women play in financial services gives us a moment to reflect on our progress,” said Bessant. “It also serves as a call to action to move decisively, farther and faster. Gender diversity is a cultural and a business and economic development imperative.”

Marianne Lake, the chief financial officer at JPMorgan Chase, is No. 2, with Ellen Alemany, the chairman and CEO of CIT Group, and Nandita Bakhshi, president and CEO of Bank of the West, moving into the ranking at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

Complete rankings can be viewed online at American Banker and are featured in the October 2017 issue of American Banker Magazine. The honorees will be celebrated at an awards dinner on Oct. 5 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York hosted by American Banker and parent company SourceMedia. In addition to the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, American Banker each year selects 25 Women to Watch, the 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance, and the Top Teams in Banking.

Leading 2017’s Watch list — which spotlights women taking on consequential new roles and challenges over the past year — is Mary Mack, the new head of community banking for the embattled Wells Fargo. Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, once again tops the Finance list.

Companies selected for the Top Teams honor — Bank of America, Bank of the West, BMO Financial, Centric Financial and Zions Bancorp. — have strong female leaders who are making powerful contributions to their companies’ bottom lines, and share a commitment to initiatives that help more women advance into the senior ranks.


About American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking
American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking recognizes the professional achievements and influence of the top-performing female executives in banking and financial services. The annual program, now in its 15th year, encompasses four lists: the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking™, the 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance, the 25 Women to Watch, and the Top Teams in Banking. Rankings and details about the awards dinner are available at

About American Banker
American Banker, a SourceMedia brand, is the essential resource for senior executives in banking and financial services, keeping its users updated on vital developments and focusing sharply on their most important concerns. Financial industry professionals turn to American Banker to stay maximally informed and engage with an authoritative community of analysts, practitioners and innovators through opinion content, research reports, social media, and live events. American Banker Magazine is a monthly print publication of American Banker, focusing on the ideas, the people, and the companies that are changing the way bankers do business.

About SourceMedia
SourceMedia, an Observer Capital company, is an innovative, growing digital business information and performance media company serving senior-level professionals in the financial, technology and healthcare sectors. Brands include American Banker, PaymentsSource, The Bond Buyer, Financial Planning, Accounting Today, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Mortgage News, Employee Benefit News and Health Data Management.

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Christine Zahn