SOURCE: SourceMedia


December 10, 2009 10:18 ET

American Banker Editors Name Jamie Dimon, CEO JPMorgan Chase, Banker of the Year

Innovator of the Year, Community Bankers of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards Also Presented

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 10, 2009) - As the banking industry works overtime to right itself, American Banker, published by SourceMedia, has honored those leading the charge. American Banker editors have honored JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon as Banker of the Year and USAA's chairman and chief executive General Josue Robles Jr. (ret.) as Innovator of the Year. The 2009 Community Bankers of the Year were ServisFirst president and CEO Thomas Broughton; Westamerica's chairman and CEO David Payne; and First Niagara Financial Group's president and CEO John Koelmel. The newspaper's editors also honored John Allison, retired BB&T CEO, with a Lifetime Achievement award. Read the full article at

American Banker has been naming Bankers of the Year since 1991. "From our perspective, the recent banking crisis has only increased the importance of honoring bankers who do great work. The industry's role in the economy and in society requires that we take note," said Barbara A. Rehm, American Banker's editor in chief.

Banker of the Year

In a time of continued regulatory and economic change, Dimon has continued to demonstrate strong leadership and prudent risk management during a time of unprecedented turmoil, using candor and courage to steer JPMorgan Chase to profitability, exceeding analysts' expectations.

"Jamie Dimon defied the odds this year," said Rehm. "Superior risk management positioned JPMorgan to capitalize on the crisis."

Arguably the most influential banker in the country, Dimon has emerged as a powerful voice in Washington as well as on Wall Street. As a credible spokesperson for an industry under unprecedented scrutiny, Dimon was instrumental in pushing the Treasury to allow JPMorgan Chase and several other healthy banks to pay back TARP funds. Dimon's skillful handling of JPMorgan Chase during the banking crisis positioned him as a uniquely capable leader for the recovering banking industry.

Innovator of the Year

USAA's General Josue Robles (ret.), Innovator of the Year, is another leader who successfully led his bank to calmer waters this year. Leveraging innovations in mobile banking, remote deposit capture and auto financing and insurance, Robles helped the $35.7 billion-asset thrift that caters to military members and their families almost quadruple its assets and increase deposits almost six fold in the past decade. Impressively, USAA's growth is entirely organic and comes despite not having any branch locations.

Community Bankers of the Year

Community Banker honoree, ServisFirst's Thomas Broughton, is known for his passion for pursuing customers, which helped him build ServisFirst Bank to $1.5 billion in assets in just four years with 30 percent of the growth occurring in 2009 alone. ServisFirst has grown quickly without loading up on construction loans and leveraged technologies like remote deposit capture and internet banking to cost-effectively meet customer needs.

A commitment to principled, measured growth is the reason that David Payne was selected as a Community Banker of the Year. While many of his competitors were growing by 15 to 20 percent through aggressive real estate lending, Westamerica stuck to its core business of lending to small companies. Although the bank received much criticism through the boom years, today the $5.1 billion-asset Westamerica is thriving during the economic downturn, earning close to $100 million through the first three quarters of 2009 and generating returns on assets and equity that are among the best in the industry.

First Niagara chief, John Koelmel, aggressively built his bank through acquisitions during the economic crisis. After striking two deals in Pennsylvania that were praised for their creativity, Koelmel has made it clear that he will pursue additional deals both inside and outside of the bank's current market. Koelmel's strategic acquisitions have transformed his bank into a major regional player.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree

As the longest-serving CEO among those running a Top 25 company when he relinquished his title last year, John Allison sees banking as a long game. He was best known during his 20 years at the helm of BB&T for making it clear where he stood and why. Transforming an eastern North Carolina bank from an entity with $4.5 billion in assets to one with $165 billion made him a powerful force within the industry, but it also left some scratching their heads when he made the decision to stop buying in 2003. This important move, while unpopular, positioned BB&T to successfully weather the economic downturn. He is currently writing two books; one will examine effective leadership, and the other, the evolution of the U.S. financial system; and he recently joined the faculty of the Wake Forest University School of Business.

About the Awards

The Banker of the Year Awards honorees are selected by the editors of American Banker in an independent and journalistic process. To accompany the awards, a special report, "Best in Banking 2009," showcasing the year's most important stories and trends, was published in the December 7 edition of American Banker and is available online.

About American Banker and SourceMedia, Inc.

American Banker,, is the banking industry's daily source of information, news, and analysis for executives at banks of all sizes. Founded in 1836, with a current readership of more than 65,000, the publication covers topics including national and global issues, mortgages, consumer finance, legislation, investment products, card and payment systems and technology.

SourceMedia, an Investcorp company, is the pre-eminent provider of timely and essential news, analysis, research, and insights for members of the financial services community, and the related fields of professional services and technology. SourceMedia offers its clients and subscribers professional publications, industry-standard data applications and in-depth seminars and conferences.

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