Indian American Bankers Nandita Bakhshi, Ranjana Clark Among Most Powerful Women in Banking

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American Banker on Sep. 25 announced its 15th annual ranking of the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance, with two Indian Americans featuring in the list.

Making the 25-person list that recognizes the most influential female leaders in the banking industry were Nandita Bakhshi and Ranjana Clark.

Bakhshi is the president and chief executive officer of Bank of the West as well as the co-CEO at BNP Paribas USA.

The Indian American comes in at No. 4 on the list.

Bakhshi, who was hired away from TD Bank in 2016, is a 30-year industry veteran with extensive experience in retail banking and payments, the publication said in her profile article.

When she arrived last year at Bank of the West, Bakhshi embarked on a listening tour across the San Francisco-based lender's 23-state footprint, it said.

She also launched a virtual office, known as Nandita's Corner, where the bank's 10,000 employees were encouraged to share their ideas, American Banker added.

One key initiative during her first year as CEO was the launch of Bank of the West's new logo. The logo prominently features the name of the bank's parent company, the French bank BNP Paribas, according to American Banker.

Another recent accomplishment was a reduction in the number of days it takes for Bank of the West to close a mortgage, it added.

Bank of the West says that it has seen a 10 percent reduction in the average time to close a home loan, according to the report.

Bakhshi began her career as a part-time teller and said in the report, "When you get to the position where you are hiring and training people, don't settle. Make sure you recruit first-rate talent and it will improve your whole organization."

Clark, who is the head of transaction banking for the Americas and San Francisco Bay Area president of MUFG Union Bank, came in at No. 19 on the 25-person list.

The Indian American is a 34-year veteran of the financial industry who had done stints at PayPal, Western Union, Wachovia and Deutsche Bank, before joining MUFG Union in 2013.

After Clark's arrival, the U.S. holding company, MUFG Americas, participated in a $10.5 million investment in Coinbase, the electronic wallet and trading platform for digital currencies, American Banker said.

That bet has paid off handsomely; Coinbase was recently valued at $1.6 billion, it added.

Today, Clark is particularly excited about the new possibilities that artificial intelligence is presenting to the financial services industry, according to the publication.

"Clients are seeking more of a self-service model to access information and perform operations," she said in the report.

To go along with her executive responsibilities here in the U.S., last year Clark became one of the first two women globally to become an executive officer at the Tokyo-based parent company, the report said.

In addition to the banking list, American Banker also released three other lists, including the Most Powerful Women in Finance, the Women to Watch, and five companies recognized as top teams for their work in developing and promoting female talent and teamwork, on which Bank of the West appears.