ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2017 - 22
> COVER STORY
You don't need to be at the pinnacle of your career
to transform the country. These men and women's
achievements before age 40 show that any banker
can make a difference.
BY EVAN SPARKS
or a banker in the early part of his or her career, big achievements might seem out
of reach-the kind of career peak one reaches only after decades of experience.
But the truth is that throughout American history, life-changing innovations have
come from younger men and women, creative and industrious bankers in their 20s
and 30s-from savings banks to data-driven lending and from traveler's cheques to
home computer banking.
Many of these innovators came late to banking or brought to the industry experience in
another profession. One was a lawyer, another a restaurant owner, still others a newspaper
editor and an engineer. Some wouldn't even have called themselves bankers. These
stories show that our industry thrives when it welcomes ideas and expertise from
outside. And not all of these individuals were CEOs and presidents when they
developed their world-changing ideas. Some were junior officers in their
institutions, but their creativity and drive brought their new approach to
None of what follows is to disregard the achievements of wise older
bankers. We will always need the leadership in our industry of people who
have done it all and seen it all. But my goal here is to show that throughout
our industry's history, many of our greatest innovations were driven by our
younger colleagues. Banking has always been about finding that balance.
A final note: this list is neither comprehensive nor exclusive. It is simply
informational-and, I hope, a bit inspirational too.
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | JULY/AUGUST 2017