Magazine article American Banker


Magazine article American Banker


Article excerpt

Standing Her Ground

Colleen M. Kvetko, the only woman in Fifth Third Bancorp's senior management, apparently has no problem telling president and CEO George Schaefer Jr. what to do.

When Mr. Schaefer wanted to finance his Florida second home, he turned to Ms. Kvetko, who is the president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati company's Florida bank. He wanted a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, she said in an interview Thursday. "No way," she said she told him. "You are not down here enough."

She advised him that he'd be better off with an adjustable. He went along.

Ms. Kvetko, 49, has been making waves for years. In fact, she was in New York this week to get an award from American Banker's sister publication U.S. Banker as No. 10 among the 25 most powerful women in banking. (No. 1, selected from 4,694 women in senior jobs, was Sallie Krawcheck, the chairman and CEO of Citigroup Inc.'s Smith Barney.)

Ms. Kvetko, who has been in banking since 1970, joined Fifth Third as a management trainee in 1987 and was put in charge of building the Florida franchise in 1992. After only three months in the South, she said, she originated a $5 million mortgage loan -- an unheard-of size at Fifth Third at the time.

"This is going to be a real bank," she said she told headquarters.

Ceremonial Visit

Harris H. Simmons, the chairman and chief executive of Zions Bancorp, was in the Oval Office on Tuesday for President Bush's signing of the Check 21 Act.

Zions, of Salt Lake City, had been a major advocate of the legislation, which will require banks to accept paper printouts of digitally imaged checks when they are presented.

The White House invited him "because we were very active promoting the bill," Mr. Simmons said by phone Thursday. Danne Buchanan, Zions' e-commerce officer, helped draft the bill and testified at the Senate subcommittee hearing. …

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