American Banker Honors the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance for 2018

Cathy Bessant, Bank of America, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, JPMorgan Chase, Top the 16th Annual Ranking

NEW YORK (September 25, 2018) American Banker has announced the honorees for its 16th annual ranking of The Most Powerful Women in Banking. Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, tops the banking list, and JPMorgan Chase’s Mary Callahan Erdoes ranks as the Most Powerful Woman in Finance.

“Disruption, whether managing in the face of it or fomenting it to drive strategy, is the distinguishing feature of leadership in financial services today. The women included in this year’s rankings excel at both,” said American Banker Executive Editor Bonnie McGeer.

As the Most Powerful Woman in Banking, Bessant wields influence not only inside her company, but beyond. She consistently pushes boundaries and, in the process, makes her company an industry leader in technology. This year, Bessant oversaw the public launch of Erica, BofA’s virtual assistant. The service, which is powered by artificial intelligence, is now available to more than 26 million mobile customers. She also advocates for ethics in new technology. Bessant was instrumental in founding Harvard University’s Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence this year. Funded by BofA, the council explores how companies can prevent bias — particularly against women and minorities — in their algorithms and models.

As No. 1 on the Finance ranking, Erdoes continues to take JPMorgan Chase's asset management business to new heights. Last year, her business posted record revenue and net income as client assets hit $2.8 trillion, an all-time high. Erdoes, chief executive for wealth and asset management, is working to help future-proof the operation by spearheading internal disruption efforts and championing diversity initiatives.

As part of this year’s program, along with the Most Powerful honorees, American Banker is highlighting women in the pipeline, and the role women can play in supporting other women in their rise through the ranks. “The idea of women supporting women has taken on the force of a movement. It is not just about a single issue like sexual harassment, but power differentials everywhere, from the workplace to politics,” said McGeer. “This year’s honorees are working to change that, both on an individual level, by mentoring other women, and at a company level, by changing policies and launching initiatives to address some of the hurdles.”

Complete rankings can be viewed online at American Banker and are featured in the October 2018 issue of American Banker Magazine. The honorees will be celebrated at an awards dinner on Oct. 4 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, hosted by American Banker and parent company SourceMedia.

In addition to the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance, American Banker each year selects 25 Women to Watch, and the Top Teams in Banking, along with Lifetime Achievement honorees.

The recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement awards are Barbara Byrne of Barclays and Rosemary Berkery of UBS. The teams selected this year are JPMorgan Chase, BMO Financial, TD Bank, Zions Bancorp and Old National Bancorp.


About American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking
American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking recognizes the professional achievements and influence of top-performing female executives in banking and financial services. The annual program, now in its 16th 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 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.