Washington Mutual: Brad Davis

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Brad Davis has been growing one of the nation's newest banks by marketing it as the "unbank."

Mr. Davis in 1996 cashed in 15 years of retailing experience that he had built at Target Stores' Mervyn's chain to help shape the rapidly expanding Washington Mutual.

For starters, Washington Mutual's exec VP-marketing and brand management, banking and financial services centered his efforts on the customer, first with a campaign showing how customers loved the bank's loan officer. Later ad campaigns featured an "action teller" doll, a Ken-like figure complete with cell phone and teller tote bag. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Sedgwick Rd, Seattle, handles.

"It sent a powerful message: We're here, we're different, we're not banking as usual," says Mr. Davis, 46, noting that Seattle-based Washington Mutual gained 1.4 million customers last year.

Mr. Davis, who says Capri is his favorite place on Earth, writes a journal every day and has a personal mission of "knowing and loving yourself, and treating others with dignity and respect." He holds a law degree but doesn't practice, and says such training gives him the mental discipline "to focus on what is relevant and not relevant."

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