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Parkite listed among top women bankers in U.S.

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

For the second time in as many years, "U.S. Banker" magazine named Parkite Becky Kearns as one of the top 50 most powerful women in American banking.

Last year the publication listed Kearns No. 21, but in the 2006 edition she moved up five places to No. 16, but Kearns gives the credit to having good people around her to make her job easier.

"For me, the award is something I feel I should give to all the people who work with me and who work for me," she said. "It’s just the culmination of all the years I’ve been able to work with great people."

Kearns, who is president of Zion’s Bank’s resort banking, developed the resort bank concept 10 years ago. She said she had such a large increase in positioning on the list because of the greater recognition resort banking is getting.

"I think it’s just the recognition of the resort-bank concept and that it has become a proven model in our industry," she said. "To be able to live where I live and to do what I do, by moving up it tells me that the resort banks are moving up in the industry and the concept is catching people’s attention."

Resort banking is based on the idea that within a big company it is often difficult to combine all the aspects of banking into one location, but it’s the goal of the resort bank to do just that. It incorporates retail banking, private banking, commercial lending, construction lending for both residential and commercial, insurance, investments, trusts and mortgages. Each resort bank may need more or less depending on the area’s individual needs.

But even with so much happening at a resort bank, Kearns said the focus is on the community and the customer.

"The whole idea of the resort bank was to make it a comfortable environment for everyone and anyone in the community," she said. "For example, we’re creating gathering spaces ‘where there are a couch and TVs and so on to make people feel welcome. Anytime you walk into those gathering spaces there are people there catching up on the news or reading a newspaper. We even have people who come in, get a cup of coffee, say ‘Hi’ to everybody then get back into their car and drive to work."

Kearns, who grew up in Pocatello, Idaho, was chosen from 5,100 applicants for the list. She said a lot of her ideas and abilities come from her upbringing. Her father served as Mayor of Pocatello, on the city council and as president of the Association of Idaho Cities. Because of these positions, Kearns said she had the chance to vacation in places like Sun Valley and McCall, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyoming.

"I grew up in an environment was in a similar to what I’m doing now," she said. "Everything I’m doing now is defined by what we did when I was younger."

Kearns earned a marketing degree at Idaho State University before going to Boise State University for a master’s degree in general business. She has two boys, ages 16 and 13, and said she prides herself on being more than just a banker, but a mom and a community leader as well.

Kearns is chair of the Summit County Hospital board and serves on the administrative board of the Pacific Coast Banking School. She has also served on boards for the Park City Chamber of Commerce, Summit Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Sundance Institute’s Utah committee.

Bankers on the list will be honored at an awards ceremony on Oct. 23 in New York City.


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