BREAKING NEWS Officer-involved shooting at Verona Convenience Store Full Story

Bank of America's Anne Finucane: The 'hippie' turned bank exec

Many years ago, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan once joked "we all report to Anne." That Anne is Anne Finucane -- ...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 2:39 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 2:39 PM

Many years ago, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan once joked "we all report to Anne." That Anne is Anne Finucane -- and she is now the company's vice chairman.

"I'm sure he regrets saying that. It was certainly in jest," Finucane tells CNN's Poppy Harlow in a new podcast episode of Boss Files.

Oddly enough, a bank is the last place Finucane thought she'd end up. A self-described "hippie" in her early twenties, she says she would have been horrified to learn she would end up working in a bank. "I don't know how it happened... the hippie needed a job," she jokes.

Throughout her childhood, she was encouraged to "plow [her] own way." It shaped Finucane into a tough, unflappable executive who has worked her way up to the highest levels of a financial sector so often dominated by men.

But it was the financial crisis and the ensuing fallout that were some of the most challenging professional obstacles Finucane has ever faced. She was tasked with repairing Bank of America's reputation following the 2008 meltdown and after it reached a nearly $17 billion settlement with the Department of Justice related to its lending practices during the mortgage crisis.

Related: Mellody Hobson: We must be 'color brave'

"We talked about the company having to reset its compass. We talked about what was important. We talked about seeking to settle where we thought we needed to so that the company could move on," Finucane recounts. "Arguing who was to blame was no longer an option... That was the biggest hurdle. Once we were through that, we really were able to set the ship right."

Finucane's rise to the top of one of the biggest banks in the world was not fast, and it was not without challenges. But some of the challenges she encountered were, undoubtedly, also her greatest gifts.

She is the mother of four children, including a daughter with special needs, and raising her children meant she had to "pedal back" at times, she says.

"I felt that I knew I couldn't move ahead," she says about her career during the years when her children were young. "I would have been there 10 years earlier if I would have been able to go straight [through]."

"I'm totally happy with what I did," she adds.

But that doesn't mean pulling back from her career was easy for her, she says. She watched colleagues fly by her professionally during those years. "I also knew that I had to get home, or I couldn't get on the plane, or I couldn't work until midnight. I just couldn't do it," she says.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki: Don't interrupt me

She may not have been able to rise as quickly as she'd hoped, but it in no way held her back professionally long-term.

Finucane argues companies need to get better at "onboarding" parents back into the workplace after they have taken the time off after having a child. Bank of America offers 16 weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers and fathers.

Roughly 30% of Bank of America's executive team and board of directors are women, while nearly 40% of the management team is female. "We're certainly a better company with the numbers we have reached. Imagine how much better we could be if we had complete diversity. You want to be a reflection of the communities and the population you serve," Finucane says.

Asked if Bank of America would have fared better during -- and in the lead up to -- the financial crisis had there been more diversity at the top, Finucane says there is no doubt.

"I would suggest that our company and a lot of other companies would have done better in the financial crisis if we had 40% women managers and 30% of the board were women," she says

"I think when you have diversity, whether it's by gender or race, ethnicity, sexual... whatever the diversity is. It creates a need for engagement, because you're not just alike. So you ask a question, and the asking of the question releases everybody else to ask the question. Imagine if you could have asked a few more questions in 2006 and 2007?"

So why does she think there aren't more women at the top of America's biggest banks?

"I don't know," concedes Finucane, but adds a hopeful note. "I think there will be women, in the next decade, I think you will see women on top of banks and other financial institutions."

And what about Finucane as CEO one day?

"I think that's not for me. It's not my thing. I could have... If I wanted to be a CEO, I would have gone into something else. A different kind of company. Not a bank."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 54°
Columbus
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 55°
Oxford
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 46°
Starkville
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 50°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather