PULLMAN, Wash. — Banking industry leader Stephen J. Trafton will deliver the Brinson Distinguished Speaker presentation Wednesday, April 29, on the Washington State University campus. The speech, “American Business, Responsibility and Accountability in the New Millennium,” is slated for 4:10 p.m. in Todd Hall, Room 434.
Trafton is chairman, president, and CEO of Golden State Bancorp Inc. and its principal subsidiary, Glendale Federal Bank. Glendale Federal is California’s leading community bank, serving the business and community banking needs of Californians through 181 full-service banking and 26 loan offices.
“Mr. Trafton’s visit to our college and campus will offer our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and learn from a banking legend,” says A. Gale Sullenberger, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “In addition to his public address, he has planned a full day of attending marketing, management, international business, and business law classes.
Trafton, a WSU alumnus in zoology, made history earlier this decade by reversing the fortunes of Glendale Federal Savings Bank in the early ’90s. With a reputation of cleaning up problem thrifts, having staved off regulations at Goldome Bank in New York, he came aboard and sliced $130 million in expenses, cut 35 percent of the Glendale Federal workforce, and spun off non-essential businesses in a six-week period in 1991. He took the Glendale Federal fight up against the federal government regulations and accounting rules that threatened the savings and loan. His efforts successfully took the bank’s breach of contract case to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also at the helm as Glenfed’s marketing efforts which stepped up and took on a “community bank” appeal.
Trafton is the first person to present a public Brinson Lecture. He joined Glendale Federal Bank in July 1990 as its senior executive VP and chief financial officer. He was appointed vice chairman of the board in June 1991 and chairman in March 1992. In the 1980s, he served as a senior officer at several thrift and commercial banks specializing in balance sheet and expense restructuring. He has more than 20 years experience in the banking and financial services industry.
The CBE lecture series was established by Gary P. Brinson, president and managing partner of Brinson Partners, Inc., headquartered in Chicago. Brinson, a Seattle native who earned his MBA at WSU, was recently hailed by the New York Times as “one of the world’s largest managers of pension plans and an innovator in financial management.” Brinson Partners pioneered the movement to the active management of global portfolios in the early 1980s and offered fully-integrated management of world asset markets. The company was acquired by Swiss Bank Corp. in 1995, which merged with Union Bank of Switzerland this December, a much-touted and analyzed move in the financial industry.

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