It was the worst of years to be associated with either the auto or finance industries, let alone both. But Toyota Financial Services managed to survive the double whammy without a government bailout or a fire sale of its assets and even gained market share. Credit a long-standing innovative vision that treasury could evolve well beyond its core functions and help create opportunity for the company. That vision was shared by treasurer Wei Shi, CFO Chris Ballinger and long-time CEO George Borst, who made treasury a member of his management team from the start of his tenure in 2000.

This pursuit of excellence on an enterprise level through unprecedented economic turmoil has brought Toyota Financial Services (TFS) to the Alexander Hamilton overall winners' circle for the second time in three years. Then-treasurer Ballinger graced Treasury & Risk's cover in 2006, the year Shi joined the company. Shi became treasurer after a reorganization in March 2008. Ballinger, who had served as treasurer since 2003, says he won't forget the day he became CFO: Sept. 15, 2008, when Lehman filed for bankruptcy.

Of course, there were some bumps along the way. Two financial restatements, which were blamed on the company's rapid growth and the significant manual processes in use, resulted in a new team taking over risk oversight and management. TFS' efforts to restore confidence won third place in the Enterprise Risk Management category this year.

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