With more than 25 years of client management and business development experience, Laurie Schwager, vice-president/senior relationship manager at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) leads a team of bankers who deliver strategic financial advice and solutions to small to mid-sized companies in NEPA and the Lehigh Valley. “We help our clients grow, improve liquidity and cash flow, manage U.S. and international payments and invest for their futures,” she said.
Schwager serves on the board of directors of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; is a member of the board of directors of Dress for Success of Luzerne County; and a loan committee member for MetroAction.
In her role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, she serves on the Mid-Atlantic Region Executive Council for Business Banking and is the BofAML Ambassador to the National Association of Women Business Owners NEPA chapter.
Her banking career began when she entered a credit-training program at a bank in New Jersey after graduating from Bucknell University. She transitioned into a relationship manager role and, over 30 years, has been in relationship management in banking.
In the middle of her career, Schwager served as a retail branch manager and regional manager, where she managed five locations and 50 employees. “This experience broadened my understanding of my clients’ needs and gave me the opportunity to help develop the skills and talents of my team. Today my clients range from entrepreneurs trying to start a new business, to corporations who have sophisticated financial structures and multi-bank relationships,” she explained.
Early in her career, a female bank executive was a great mentor to her. This was meaningful as there were very few women with leadership roles in the banking and finance industry at the time.
“My true mentors over my career were successful clients, managers and co-workers that served as great advisors and as a support network. I try to give back to my clients and co-workers in the same way in my daily activities,” she explained.
Schwager attributes her success to her ability to build relationships, both with clients and internal partners. “Helping my clients succeed helps me succeed in my individual goals,” she said.
Schwager is grateful for the support of her family — her husband, David Schwager, a local attorney; her 25-year old twins, Max and Melissa; her mother and sisters, who have seen her through it all; as well as a great number of wonderful caregivers who were always there to help her manage the demands of family, work, and community.