Citi Turns 200: Pioneers in a Man's World
July 20, 2012 09:00 AM
In celebration of Citigroup's 200th Anniversary, we are sharing stories from our rich history here on this blog. The 18th installation below covers how the success of female employees in Brazil and Columbia forecasts the importance of women in banking. Read the 17th installment on how Walter Wriston helped revitalize the bank's overseas division, here.
Pioneers in a man's world
In Brazil and Colombia, the success of female employees presages the increasingly important role of women in banking In December 1942, with World War II raging, Gabriela Caumo began working as a typist at the Praça Antonio Prado branch of National City Bank in downtown São Paulo. At the time, the bank had only 150 employees across all of Brazil. Caumo later moved to the payments section, where she learned the bank's accounting system, handling branch-to-branch and bank-to-bank transfers. She then became responsible for safe-deposit boxes before being promoted to the position of account manager. She was still working for the bank in 2006, managing the accounts of 320 clients as a wealth relationship manager. That year, she passed away at the age of 82. In an interview in 2002, Dona Gabriela, as she was best known, highlighted her long-standing relationships with clients and colleagues. Some of her clients had been with her more than 60 years. "A good rendering of services is the base of our relationship. This is how clients build confidence in our work," she said.
During the course of her long career, the operational side of banking had changed almost beyond recognition, and yet she had been able to adjust to the changes. "When I started, all processes and equipment were manual, absolutely nothing was automated. Today, we work with computers and systems. Even so, I keep updating myself because I think this is an important part of my functions."
In 2005, Dona Gabriela was paid homage by visiting chief executive officer Charles Prince as the bank's oldest employee anywhere in the world. By joining the bank in 1942, Prince said, Dona Gabriela Caumo "started one of the most brilliant and lasting careers of her generation."