Third Annual Bank Director Board Performance Awards

For its third annual Bank Board Performance Awards, Bank Director again sought boards that exemplified high standards of excellence in three categories: superlative corporate governance, business ingenuity, and courage of convictions. While it takes far more people than the CEO and directors to create an institution worthy of awardsu00e2u20ac”employees, customers, and shareholders all play a roleu00e2u20ac”in the end, it is the quality of leadership our winning boards embody that determines success. Such leadership begins and ends with the board of directors.

As a prime example, the Corporate Governance Award is presented to a fiercely independent group of directors at Portland-based West Coast Bancorp. Led by Chairman Lloyd D. Ankeny, the board drafted a new CEO six years ago to transform this once-rudderless community bank to the $2 billion regional powerhouse it is today. In doing so, this group took no shortcuts: the boardu00e2u20acu2122s blue-ribbon standards have earned it one of the highest corporate governance ratings among public banks in the nation. For this and many other reasons outlined in the story that follows, West Coastu00e2u20acu2122s directors deserve plaudits for their integrity and exemplary corporate governance discipline.

Each year we also highlight institutions that keep the industry fresh by implementing innovative strategies. This yearu00e2u20acu2122s Trailblazer Award goes to Pasadena-based East West Bancorp for carving out a unique position as one of the countryu00e2u20acu2122s foremost lenders for Asian-Americans. Centered in a region that has seen explosive growth among Asian-Americans during the last three decades, East Westu00e2u20acu2122s board of directorsu00e2u20ac”led by its visionary Chairman and CEO Dominic Ng, decided early on that a Chinese-American niche would be its destiny. Through the use of keen marketing programs and by leveraging the strengths and insights of its board members, the now nearly $11 billion bank has watched its early dream turn into reality.

Finally, Bank Director presents the L. William Seidman Courage award to the board of $680 million Carver Bancorpu00e2u20ac”a community bank that embodies optimism and hope in an industry that too often rewards only the bottom line. After treading water for years, following heavy losses and proxy battles, Carveru00e2u20ac”which serves neighborhoods from Brooklyn to Queensu00e2u20ac”took a deep breath and placed its faith in banking newcomer Deborah Wright, its gutsy Chairman and CEO who believed Carver couldu00e2u20ac”indeed, shouldu00e2u20ac”become a thriving sophisticated commercial lender to serve metropolitan and inner city clients and customers. The transformation has been nothing short of phenomenal since 2000, proving that the combination of capable leadership, faith of convictions and, of course, courage, can indeed triumph over conventional wisdom.

We hope you enjoy reading the profiles of these three deserving boards. As we at Bank Director evaluate candidates for these awards each yearu00e2u20ac”some nominated by banks themselves, some by consultants, and others we uncoveru00e2u20ac”we are continually struck by the high quality of leadership that is pervasive in the U.S. banking industry. While we offer congratulations to the three institutions in this issue, we hope they serve as beacons for all bank directors in the year to come.

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