Zions Bank singled out for its women bankers

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If you think you have an interesting "Today's Woman" topic, you can contact Candice Madsen at cmadsen@ksl.com. It's tough to work in banking these days, but a group in Utah has been singled out for staying calm in the heart of a storm. U.S. Banker Magazine just ranked Zions Bank as the No. 2 women's bank team in the nation.

Zions Bank singled out for its women bankers

The ranking is based on several factors, including the number of women in management positions and the bank's overall financial performance. Zions knocked out several major banks, including Citigroup and Wells Fargo, to make it into the top three. It's second only to U.S. Bancorp, and that has surprised many within the banking community.

Executive Vice President Diana Kirk has played a large role in recruiting the women. She said, "Most people wouldn't think that at Zions Bank in Utah and Idaho the majority of departments are run by women."

Twenty years ago she was the first woman vice president in the bank. "It was kind of lonely. It was something I wasn't expecting. I was expecting there'd be a few more women," she said.

Zions Bank singled out for its women bankers

Kirk says she worked with bank president Scott Anderson to make the bank friendlier for women. They came up with the idea of the Women's Financial Group to serve customers, but Diana says employees also took notice. "I think women viewed it and said, ‘This is a place where I can work. This is a place where I can be successful,'" she said.

Today women bankers manage 67 percent of Zions' employees, hold 41 percent of the corporate officer positions and this year divisions headed by women have already contributed to 64 percent of the bank's earnings. It is that success that is receiving national attention.

Beyond the team recognition, several executives were also recognized by U.S. Banker, including Senior Vice President Cindy Smith. She heads up Bankcard Operations.

"It's great to work for a company that appreciates women, appreciates women being able to be authentic and not have to pretend to be someone else," she said.

Executive Vice President LeeAnne Linderman is also part of the team. She steers the Retail Banking Division and oversees 1,100 employees directly, the most in the company. "I think you just go about doing your job, and do it well, and don't keep tally," she said.

Interestingly, when Zions first started its Women's Financial Group 11 years ago, 50 percent of the clients were men who said they preferred working with women. Now about 60 percent of the clients are women.

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Candice Madsen


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