Originally created 03/09/06

50 years of experience make banking this woman's world



Jean P. Daniel has had to adapt during 50 years climbing the ranks in Augusta's banking community.

But there's one thing she won't change.

"I don't want a Palm Pilot," the 68-year-old said, thumbing through her Rolodex.

Inside are decades of contacts - the numbers for her 250-plus clients forged during the years, with room for more.

Today, Ms. Daniel serves as a vice president and a client adviser for SunTrust's private wealth management division, working with some of Augusta's wealthiest residents.

Flash back 50 years and she's an 18-year-old high school grad looking for work.

"It was very difficult to find work then. I picked where I thought I had the best chance," said Ms. Daniel, who started as a proof clerk for Citizens & Southern National Bank.

A proof clerk, a position now obsolete, had to take the teller's checks and deposits and verify them, she explained.

Back then, nothing was computerized and the grunt work was done by hand, she said.

Not wanting to be stuck as a clerk her entire career, Ms. Daniel jumped at the chance to work payroll and eventually moved to the bank's Daniel Village office, where she was a supervisor and later a loan officer - an ambitious role for a woman at that time, she said.

Banking was a man's world and Ms. Daniel wasn't even trusted with a key to the bank. That changed in the 1970s, around the time she got her own office.

Also during the '70s, she represented all of Augusta's female bankers as chairwoman of the local branch of the National Association of Women Bankers.

"We educated women in how to work on a career and what it would take to get there," she said. "We weren't a militant group. It was just 'OK, women, you have a chance now, but there are things you need to do to educate yourself.' "

In 1989, something new developed out of the banking industry: private banking.

In joining this department, Ms. Daniel served the bank's biggest depositors.

In the early 1990s, she had to cope with regionalized banking, when smaller banks were scooped up by the big boys, she said.

Around this time, Citizens & Southern Bank was purchased by NationsBank, which today is Bank of America.

In 1999, she decided to leave the company for a job at SunTrust.

With her came many clients, such as Augusta attorney Larry Fletcher, whom Ms. Daniel has served for 20 years.

"I don't know what I'll do when she retires," said Mr. Fletcher, a partner with Fletcher, Harley & Fletcher. "She's an old-time banker in a modern banking world. With Jean, everything is on a personal basis."

Retirement is not yet in sight, Ms. Daniel said.

"As long as I enjoy getting up every morning and coming to work, I will work," she said.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.

Jean P. Daniel


Age: 68

Title: Vice president and client adviser for SunTrust in the private wealth management department

Years in banking: 50

First job: Proof clerk

As a child, "All I thought about was riding horses."

Education: Graduated from Graduate School of Retail Bank Management of the University of Virginia

Family: Son, daughter, four grandchildren

Favorite part of banking: Working with the people

Least favorite: Paperwork

Inspired by: Bennett Brown, former chairman and CEO of Citizens & Southern National Bank; Milledge Murray, SunTrust vice president and client adviser for private wealth management

Community service: Former chairwoman of the Augusta Invitational Regatta (1986-1995)

Hobbies: Writing poetry, children's stories



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