America’s first exclusively female-owned commercial bank, from capital to operation, opened in Chicago this week with the stated purpose of helping the “female economy” and overcoming the existing gender gap in access to credit.
Tennis player Billie Jean King, actress Sophie Bush and entrepreneur Nia Batts are the strategic advisers of the First Women’s Bank, whose president and CEO is Marianne Markowitz.
“The potential for the First Women’s Bank to drive social change and help close gender and race credit gaps is enormous,” Markowitz said in a statement.
According to its president and CEO, the First Women’s Bank (FWB) is the first bank in which its founders, owners and directors are women and aims to help “small business owners, their employees and communities“.
“A fundamental step towards achieving gender equality is the creation of economic parity and financial inclusion”
“Women-owned businesses are growing twice as fast as the national average, but so far they only receive 16% of conventional business loans,” he says.
For now, FBW has only one headquarters and is heavily focused on digital banking.
In addition to providing innovative capital solutions for small businesses, the bank has created the FWB Collective, a community of resources, support and inspiration, and a platform through which businesses individuals and organizations can provide tangible support to women’s economy, indicated the entity.
First Women’s Bank: an achievement for financial inclusion
The inauguration of the bank took place this Wednesday with the presence of the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, among other guests.
“In order for our city and our economy to be as strong as possible, our residents from all walks of life must have equal access to capital opportunities“said the mayor at the inaugural event.
For her part, FWB strategic advisor and retired tennis player Billie Jean King said that “a fundamental step towards achieving gender equality is the creation of economic parity and financial inclusion, which requires closing racial and gender gaps in access to capital “.
Nia Batts and Sophia Bush, also strategic advisers to First Women’s Bank, noted: “As entrepreneurs and investors, we know what it is like to navigate the capital structures that can support or impede the growth of a company“.
“It is very important to ensure that women, at every stage of their business, receive the support of the community, resources and opportunities that we know have historically not been available to all,” they added.
Among other partners to fulfill its mission, FWB has companies such as Aon, Wendy’s, Comcast Corporation y William Blair.
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