Carrie Tolstedt, senior executive vice president of community banking for Wells Fargo & Co., speaks during the 8th Annual 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking Awards dinner in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. Tolstedt was voted as the most powerful woman in banking by U.S. Banker, which co-sponsored the event with American Banker magazine. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBloomberg via Getty Images
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With 6,200 branches, 105,000 employees, and 12,500 ATMs under her control, Tolstedt runs the country’s biggest retail bank network. (Wells Fargo estimates that in the 39 states in which it operates, half of all households are within two miles of a branch or an ATM.) To boost efficiency and cut down on real estate costs, last year Tolstedt introduced a virtually paperless, pared-down 1,000-square-foot storefront. She also stepped up small-business lending, issuing a record $18.9 billion in new loan commitments in 2013, as well as issuing more money in Small Business Administration-backed loans than any other bank by a factor of two.