While still a student, Leslie Carter-Prall spent summer vacations working as a bank teller near her Scottsburg home and came to like interacting with customers and taking responsibility. Now those responsibilities are far greater as she serves as area president and executive vice president for Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Financial Corp. Carter-Prall, promoted in April from wealth management executive, now oversees commercial banking offices from Chicago to Cincinnati.
Banking isn’t quite the same as it was when she entered the business. Greater regulations have forced bankers to become more personal and more professional—in short, better at their work, she said.
Coming through the economic downturn, she added, banks have been blamed for a lot. She sees it as part of her mission to educate clients and take an active role in the communities they service “so that everyone can be self-sufficient, from a financial standpoint.”
She admitted that sometimes customers can’t be satisfied because they want to buy something not within their budget or they want to expand businesses that haven’t solidified their position.
“It’s that balance between providing what people want and helping them understand what they need and what makes the most sense for them,” she said. “It can be tough to deliver those messages.”
Carter-Prall said the chief differentiators between banks are the people. Regions looks for people who can work well with others and who can provide more value to customers than basic transactional services and products, she said.
“We worked with clients through some very challenging times,” she said. “It’s rewarding to come out of those challenges and see stronger businesses.”
She said she was fortunate to work at Indiana National Bank (which fell into ownership by JPMorgan Chase through a series of acquisitions) early in her career.
“[It] was a strong leader of community involvement. I feel fortunate to have that base.” She also credits her mentor, Barbara Branic, former local president of Regions Bank, for helping guide her during her early days in banking.
Carter-Prall serves on the boards of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Little Red Door Cancer Agency.
“I lost my mother when she was 52,” she said. Already giving to the United Way, she “wanted to focus more time, effort and monetary contribution to an organization that helps those in need during their challenges with cancer.”
A past president of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Alumni Association, she said she was honored to help connect top students to the program, mentor existing students and make connections. To that end, she’s taught interview skills and discussed career opportunities.
“Just a few weeks ago, when down there for a building decision, I connected with two freshmen direct-admit students and introduced them to those in Kelley who they may not have known to help them start to establish their networks. A big message I want to send alumni and students is that there’s power in a network of over 100,000 living alumni across the world.”•
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