The expression “accelerated learning” has been used by a number of our recent CFO guests to distinguish periods within their careers when circumstances demanded a hastened pace of knowledge gain.

For Jamie Britton, this period of time began when an economist at SunTrust Bank pulled him into a conference room and offered him a position on a newly formulated team being tasked with supporting the bank’s senior management in the midst of the economic downturn. 

“All eyes were on capital adequacy due to the massive losses that banks were having to recognize, and I had to come up to speed very quickly to learn how to calculate regulatory capital for the bank,” explains Britton, who was first hired by SunTrust in 2006 to help develop to a scenario analysis process for the bank’s operations.

The new role, which Britton eagerly accepted, involved the creation of tools and metrics capable of serving senior management as it sought to maneuver away from the economic calamity.

Recalls Britton: “We were charged with coming up with something that was fast, reliable, and reflective of all of the types of decisions that the board and senior management were having to make almost on an hour-by-hour basis.”

Having added some luster to his risk credentials, Britton eventually joined Texas Capital Bank, where doors swung open to the finance executive as he introduced stress-testing processes to a number of functional areas.

“When we did a good job in one area, we were then asked to partner with another area,” says Britton. “It was just a great way to learn the different parts of finance as well as the organization.” –Jack Sweeney