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Carmen Bermúdez: 1943—: Financial Services Executive

Treated With Suspicion

In 1994 she relocated to Tucson—believing the business climate for start-ups to be more favorable there—and founded Mission Management & Trust Co., named after the San Xavier Mission in the area. As a trust business, it manages the assets of charities, private citizens, and such major companies as Avon. She was determined that she could win clients and provide them with top-notch service. "If you don't have [client] service, nothing matters," she told Diana A. TerryAzíos in an interview for Hispanic Online. "It's like a restaurant with great food and lousy service. Who wants that?"

Bermúdez faced several obstacles as a company founder and industry pioneer. One major hindrance, she admitted in the EntreWorld article, was "a credibility hurdle." Bermúdez explained, "Who would entrust millions of dollars in assets to a fledgling company owned and operated by a minority woman? We needed a financial heavyweight to lend us stature." As fearless as she was as a child, Bermúdez approached Martha R. Seger, the first woman ever to win full-term appointment to the Federal Reserve Board, and asked her to join Mission's board. Seger agreed, and her presence helped speed up the process for the granting of a state charter, which until then had been stuck in the bureaucratic approval process for an unduly long time. Bermúdez's fledgling company faced other challenges: they were audited three times in six months by state regulators, and the bank that it used, The Bank of Arizona, closed her accounts without advance notice. Bermúdez believed they suspected her of money laundering. "The rest is history," Bermúdez told the Palm Beach Post. "We've been recognized nationally and internationally, and that bank no longer exists."

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Miguel Angel Asturias: 1899-1974: Writer to Don Berrysmith Biography - Grew up in the Pacific NorthwestCarmen Bermúdez: 1943—: Financial Services Executive Biography - Worked To Improve Herself, Treated With Suspicion, An Industry Pioneer