William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Legendary Women In Banking

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Legendary Women In Banking

Banking has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, with women often facing significant barriers to entry and advancement. Unequal pay, lack of gender equity policies as well as lack of role models are just some of the barriers that exist in the financial world.

Despite these challenges, there have been many pioneering women who have broken through these barriers to become leaders in the field. Today, women continue to occupy senior positions like chief executive officer, senior vice president and chief risk officer in different banking institutions. They not only continue to make significant contributions to the banking industry but also keep paving the way for future generations of women in finance.

women in banking

According to a research conducted by Deloitte in 2021, the proportion of women in leadership roles in the finance industry has risen from 22% to 24%. This number is projected to grow to 28% by 2030.

In this article, we highlight some of the most excellent women in banking and their remarkable achievements.

Key Points
  • Traditionally, banking has been a male-dominated industry, with women facing barriers to entry such as unequal pay, lack of gender equity policies and lack of role models
  • The number of women in leadership roles in the finance industry has risen from 22% to 24%. This number is projected to grow to 28% by 2030.
  • Some exceptional women in banking include: Abigail Johnson, Fonta Gilliam, Jane Fraser, Ida Liu, Jennifer Piepszak, Karen Peetz, Nandita Bakhshi, Sheena Allen, Titi Cole, Thasunda Duckett

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning, financial management, and real estate here. More on disclaimers here.

10 Notable Women in Banking

These women are making significant contributions in the banking industry:

1. Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson is the CEO of Fidelity Investments. She took over the role from her father in 2014. She has also been actively serving as the Chair of the company since 2016. The Boston-based mutual fund was founded in 1946 by her grandfather Edward Johnson II.

She currently owns an approximated 24.5% stake of the firm. This sums up to an estimated $22.8 billion considering the firm has $4.2 trillion in managed assets.

As much as she was born into a family that enabled her to kick start her career, she is still very qualified to head the company. She started off working at Fidelity under customer service, then as an analyst and then as an equity portfolio manager for like a decade before getting into her first executive position in the firm. She also holds an MBA from Harvard University.

Johnson embraced cryptocurrencies and in 2018, and Fidelity launched a platform that allows institutional investors to trade Bitcoin and Ether. As the head of the company, her focus is on ensuring that their diverse customers receive the best service that helps them meet their unique goals and needs.

2. Fonta Gilliam

Fonta Gilliam

Fonta Gilliam is the CEO of Sou Sou, a fintech company based in Washington, DC. She founded the company 10 years after serving as a U.S. diplomat, management consultant, development finance specialist and gender adviser in the U.S., Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The idea was inspired by the village savings and loans traditions. Sou Sou is a smart social banking platform designed to help community banks attract customers and create lending opportunities in a safe, secure and cost-efficient way. People use the Sou Sou virtual secured credit card to save, build credit or invest with people that they trust seamlessly using any bank account or card.

The firm serves an array of clients including the government, non-profit, small business and corporate clients within the United States, Africa, and Asia.

3. Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser is the CEO of Citi, a global bank that serves individuals, businesses and institutions across 160 countries and jurisdictions. In the history of the firm, she is the first woman to serve as CEO.

Fraser has served at Citi in different capacities from 2004. Prior to becoming CEO, she served as the President of Citi and CEO of the Global Consumer Bank. She is responsible for all of Citi’s consumer businesses, including retail banking and wealth management, credit cards, mortgage and operations and technology in 19 markets.

Before joining Citi, Fraser was a partner at McKinsey & Company. She started her career with the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in London and later worked for Asesores Bursátiles in Madrid, Spain.

She also serves as Vice Chair for Partnership for New York City and a member of the Board of Business Roundtable, Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors, the Stanford Global Advisory Board, the Economic Club of New York and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Fraser holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MA in Economics from Cambridge University.

4. Ida Liu*

Ida Liu

Ida Liu is the Global Head of Citi Private Bank and a member of the Global Wealth Management Leadership team. She leads the Private Banking activities in 50 offices across 18 countries and works with ultra-high net worth families to provide them with wealth management solutions for themselves and their businesses. At Citi Private Bank, Liu created the North America Asian Clients Group.

Previously she served as the Head of Citi Private Bank North America and has held numerous leadership positions throughout her career. She started her career in banking in mergers and acquisitions at BT Wolfensohn (now Deutsche Bank).

Liu has been recognized by Barron's among Top 10 Most Influential Women in Wealth Management and 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance.

She is a holder of a BA with honors from Wellesley College and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Liu is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and is conversant with Russian.

5. Jennifer Piepszak

Jennifer Piepszak

Jennifer Piepszak is the Co-CEO of Consumer & Community Banking (CCB) and a member of the JPMorgan Chase Operating Committee. CCB serves approximately 78 million consumers and 5.6 million small businesses in the U.S., and she is entirely responsible for its operations.

Piepszak has been with JPMorgan Chase for 29 years and her key responsibilities on a day to day basis include banking and wealth management.

She is a holder of a Bachelor of Science degree from Fairfield University and is on the board of directors for the United Way of New York City and the American Bankers Association.

6. Karen Peetz

Karen Peetz

Karen Peetz is the Chief Administrative Officer of Citi and her main role in this position is to oversee Citi’s project management office and data efforts globally.

Previously, she served as the President at BNY Mellon for almost 20 years and she oversaw the company’s global client management group, covering the firm’s top 500 clients worldwide; regional management (Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America); and its treasury services business. She also led the company’s Human Resources, global innovation and regulatory oversight efforts.

Peetz serves in various corporate and nonprofit boards, including: The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Amherst Holdings, Johns Hopkins University and the Global Lyme Alliance.

7. Nandita Bakhshi

Nandita Bakhshi

Nandita Bakhshi currently serves as the President and CEO of Bank of the West, a BNP Paribas company that is part of a global network of banks in 72 countries. The firm is very cautious about the impact that it has on the environment. Not only is the bank invested in sustainable energy transition, but it's also the only major bank in the U.S. that has firm environmental policies like ruling out the financing of fossil fuels, tobacco among other industries.

Bakhshi, who is among the 2% of female CEOs in banking globally, has an executive team that is nearly 40% women. She is of the belief that all people, regardless of outside influences should be able to express themselves at work as authentically as possible.

She has over 25 years of experience in the banking industry and over the years, she has held several high profile positions in retail banking and payments. Prior to joining Bank of the West, she served at TD Bank, most recently as the Executive Vice President and Head of North American Direct Channels. In that role, she was responsible for driving innovation in direct and electronic channels to improve digital adoption and provide customers a unified banking experience in both direct and electronic channels.

8. Sheena Allen

Sheena Allen

Sheena Allen is the founder and CEO of CapWay, a fintech startup company. CapWay is a mobile app that offers specialized financial services to individuals who don't have access to banks. It also connects millennials and Gen-Zs to the cashless economy. The company is on a mission to serve people who lack fair opportunity and access to mainstream financial services.

So far she is the youngest woman in America to own and operate a digital bank.

Allen grew up in Mississippi where a big part of the population was financially underserved. She saw an opportunity to fill a gap that would positively impact billions of people all over the world and she took it. Together with her team, they worked through R&D and beta testing from 2016-2019 before launching in 2020.

In 2016, Sheena made her premiere in She Started It, a documentary film that follows five women around on their startup journey. In 2017, she released her first print book, The Starting Guide, about her early journey in tech, being a nontechnical founder, and business 101 tips.

Allen is also a renowned public speaker with speaking engagements that include TEDx San Francisco, AfroTech, Forbes Under 30 Summit among others. She has also been featured in various publications, including CNN, Inc Magazine, ESSENCE, Forbes 30 Under 30, Female Founders 100 list among others.

9. Titi Cole

Titi Cole

Titi Cole is the CEO of Legacy Franchises at Citigroup. She is responsible for overseeing the new operating segment that houses Citi’s consumer businesses and colleagues in the markets Citi is exiting across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Mexico.

Prior to becoming CEO of the company, she served as the Head of Global Operations & Fraud Prevention, and the Chief Client Officer for Citi’s Global Consumer Bank. She also served as the Global Diversity & Inclusion Champion for the Global Consumer Bank, leading several key diversity initiatives including increasing representation of women and underrepresented groups across the business.

Titi earned a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

She serves on the Board of Trustees for Queens University of Charlotte.

10. Thasunda Duckett

Thasunda Duckett

Thasunda Duckett is the President and CEO of TIAA, The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America. The company was established 100+ years ago to help teachers gain confidence in retirement. The organization is a leading Fortune 500 company that provides secure retirement and customized investment solutions to people working in higher education, healthcare and other mission-driven organizations. She is the fourth Black woman in history to serve as a CEO to a Fortune 500 company. The organization currently serves 5M+ clients.

Prior to joining TIAA, Duckett served as the CEO of Chase Consumer Banking. She was responsible for overseeing over $800 billion in deposits and investments, serving 24 million households nationwide. Under her leadership as CEO, Chase underwent both digital and physical transformation.

Duckett has been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker, one of 100 Leading Women by Automotive News, one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America by Black Enterprise, and among the Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Baylor University.

Wrap Up

It is evident that more women are taking up space in the banking and financial industry at large. Equipping yourself with financial knowledge in this era has never been more important. If you would like to engage a qualified female finance professional or an investment professional, schedule a meeting with the financial experts at Bay Street Capital today!

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent investment advisory, wealth management, and financial planning firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. They manage portfolios with the goal of maintaining and increasing total assets and income with a high priority on managing total risk and volatility. Although many advisors may focus on maximizing returns, they place a higher priority on managing total risk and volatility.

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