The Center for Banking and Finance honored three individuals with the Center's Leadership Award for their outstanding contributions to banking law and to the banking industry. Together, they represent over 90 years of leadership and commitment to the banking community. We celebrate the tremendous careers of Marion Cowell, Jerone Herring and Paul Polking.
The Legal Giants that Propelled North Carolina Banks to National Prominence: Paul J. Polking, Marion A. Cowell, and Jerone C. Herring,- 8 North Carolina Banking Institute 119 (2004).
Marion Cowell joined Cameron-Brown Company, a mortgage banking subsidiary of First Union, in 1972. In 1978, he became general counsel of First Union and served in that capacity until his retirement from the bank in 1999. First Union merged with Wachovia following Cowell's retirement and is currently the fifth largest financial holding company in the U.S. Cowell is now Counsel to Kilpatrick Stockton LLP in Charlotte. He is a member of the Board of Legal Services of North Carolina, Inc., a member of the IOLTA Board and former chair of the North Carolina Bar Association's Professionalism Committee.
Jerone Herring was hired as BB&T's first lawyer in 1971. When Herring retired after 32 years at BB&T, the bank had grown from $250 million in assets when he started to over $90 billion in assets, making it then the 11th largest financial holding company in the country and the eighth largest retail insurance broker in the United States. BB&T now operates over 1400 bank branches in 11 states and the District of Columbia. It was a pioneer in the acquisition of thrift institutions and the use of merger-conversions.
Paul Polking joined NCNB Corporation (one of Bank of America's predecessors) in 1970. Mr. Polking was the bank's second lawyer. He was named general counsel in 1988 and now presides over a legal department that numbered over 230 attorneys prior to the consummation of the Fleet Financial merger. NCNB, then NationsBank and now Bank of America, is widely credited with helping to dismantle geographic restrictions on banking. Bank of America will hold the most deposits in the United States after its merger with Fleet, and it will truly be a bank with a nationwide branch system.
Paul Stock is Executive Vice President and Counsel of the North Carolina Bankers Association. He has served the NCBA for over thirty years. Over the course of his distinguished career he has worked tirelessly to protect the interests of the members of the bankers association. Especially notable, was the unlikely coalition of bankers and consumer advocates that Paul helped build to facilitate the passage of the nation's first anti-predatory lending law in 1999.