Age 39 | Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.

Having worked at Bankers Trust Co. during high school as a mailroom clerk and later as a teller, John Ruan IV had always kept the idea of a career at Bankers Trust in the back of his mind.

Rather than going to work immediately for the bank owned by his family, however, Ruan earned a history degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a law degree from the University of Iowa. He then joined LaSalle Bank in Chicago, where he worked from 2002 to 2007.

“After law school, I had always wanted to live in a big city,” said Ruan, who was also drawn by the Cubs and friends from Iowa who had moved there. A few years later, after getting married and having a couple of children, “Des Moines was a lot more appealing at that point.”

He and his wife, Alison, now have three children, ages 7, 6 and 4.

During his five years with LaSalle Bank, Ruan first worked as an attorney, then transitioned to credit analyst and later a loan officer. For the past four years with Bankers Trust, Ruan has specialized in correspondent banking and currently serves as vice president for financial institutions. The financial institutions group provides credit and other banking services to correspondent banks in Iowa and surrounding states.

“I thought that was a good opportunity to get around the state and learn about banking from other bankers,” he said.

In recommending Ruan as a Forty Under 40, Bankers Trust President and CEO Suku Radia said he’s impressed with his enthusiasm, work ethic and leadership skills. “His humility is remarkable and he is always willing to go the extra mile,” Radia wrote.

Ruan’s extra miles extend toward his involvement with the boards of the Des Moines Symphony, Junior Achievement of Central Iowa and the Riverfront YMCA.

“Just having a thriving downtown is something I’d like to work towards,” he said. “I think with the YMCA and the symphony (involvement), that’s a small part of it.”

The Des Moines Symphony’s music director, Joseph Giunta, said that Ruan is “well on his way to becoming the next generation of selfless contributors in the long line of people that make a difference in Greater Des Moines.”

His family’s tremendous business and philanthropic legacy is not something Ruan dwells on.

“Growing up here in Des Moines, it’s always been a part of my life,” he said. “I don’t think about it too much; I’ve always had to deal with that. I wouldn’t even try to match what my grandfather did. I just try to do the best I can.”


Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Influential banker responsible for a loan portfolio of more than $90 million in assets.

• Carries on the family tradition of philanthropy, selfless giving.

• Active on the boards of civic organizations, including the Des Moines Symphony, Junior Achievement of Central Iowa and the Riverfront YMCA.

• Serves on the legislative committee of the Iowa Bankers Association.

• Member of the Blank Park Zoo Capital Campaign committee.

Mentor: John Ruan III

Fun fact:
Considered a legislative career in Washington, D.C., “but decided I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life.”