March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, NerdWallet is taking a moment to highlight the current state of women in business. Because we live in a world that has yet to achieve social and economic equality, it should come as no surprise that women and minorities still have an unequal standing in business as well. But this shouldn’t be taken as evidence that women and minorities don’t contribute to the US economy. An October 2010 report by the US Department of Commerce found that, in 2007, nearly 30% of all non-farm, privately-held US firms were owned by women. These businesses had sales/receipts of $1.2 trillion in that year. Women-owned businesses grew twice as fast as men-owned firms between the years 1997 and 2007, and between 1997 and 2002, businesses owned by minority women increased faster than those owned by non-minority women. However, women-owned businesses tend to be smaller than those owned by men, and account for a much smaller percentage of total sales and employment.
Banks and Credit Unions Support Women in Business
That Department of Commerce report makes a point of saying that many women start with less capital than men, and are less likely to take on additional debt to fund their businesses. They are also more likely to self-start and avoid outside financing. These are important factors to consider, and they point to the practicality and pragmatism of many women business owners, but they do not level the playing field. The report’s introduction ends with a call to improve nationwide support for businesses owned by women through better mentoring, increased information awareness and networking. We can do this by promoting women who already have a business, and also by changing the way women-owned businesses are viewed in the country.
To that effect, we have found a few special banks and credit unions that provide financial resources for women, including seminars, business loans and networking meetings. They are doing their part to improve the status of women in the financial world.
Verity Mom – Verity Credit Union (Seattle, WA)
Verity Credit Union has been recognized in the past for its excellent blogs, but its Verity Mom blog has a particular relevance to the subject of women in business. A local Seattle mom, Danielle, writes the blog. She posts about her own experience as a mother and offers financial advice for Washington families. Danielle points out jobs that might appeal to mothers with less work time available to them, but more importantly, the blog provides a space for moms of every persuasion to talk about themselves and connect with other moms statewide. Verity Credit Union has branches in Lynnwood, Auburn and Seattle, Washington. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in Washington state.
Women’s Financial Group – National Bank of Arizona (Phoenix, AZ)
National Bank of Arizona’s Women’s Financial Group is a forum of professional women dedicated to bringing together women business owners and helping them succeed. They provide banking products, investment services, and workshops produced by regional advisory boards comprised of successful businesswomen. The group is run by women who understand the particular challenges faced by aspiring businesswomen. Each program is designed to offer strategies and advice to empower women. National Bank of Arizona has branches in more than 50 Arizona communities.
NAWBO Networking – Old Plank Trail Community Bank (Mokena, IL)
Old Plank Trail Community Bank regularly holds networking breakfasts with the National Association of Women Business Owners. Just last month, the bank held a breakfast in which the speaker, Bobi Siembieda, explained the six key components of successful businesses. Old Plank Trail Community Bank has branches in Frankfort, Mokena, New Lenox and Orland Park, Illinois.
Women’s Vitality Seminars – Del Norte Credit Union (Santa Fe, NM)
Del Norte Credit Union offers half-day Women’s Vitality Seminars dedicated to improving women’s well being and financial health. The workshops are available all year, and include topics like “Financial & Emotional Health” and “Stress Reduction Techniques” designed specifically for working women. Del Norte Credit Union has branches in Española, Los Alamos, White Rock and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Anyone can join. Visit the nearest branch location for additional membership information.
Women’s Business Summit Sponsor – Bank of North Dakota (Bismarck, ND)
The Bank of North Dakota was noted as being a presenting partner to the 2012 Women’s Business Summit. Held in October 2012, in Bismarck, North Dakota, the summit celebrated National Women’s Business Week, and featured 2 days of training, networking, business growth opportunities, personal development and professional focus. The summit helped bring together businesswomen from across the state in order to create a support network for all working women. Bank of North Dakota is located in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Commercial Business Lending – Community Credit Union of Florida (Rockledge, FL)
Community Credit Union of Florida offers a series of lending opportunities for businesses within their community. They have made a point throughout their history as a financial institution of supporting and investing in emerging and small businesses, especially those run by women or minorities. They work with your business and offer convenient, flexible services. Community Credit Union of Florida has branches in Rockledge, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Cocoa, Titusville and Viera, Florida. Membership eligibility information can be found here.
Small Business Lending Fund – Nicolet National Bank (Green Bay, WI)
Nicolet National Bank began participating in the Small Business Lending Fund in 2011. Designed to support small businesses, the fund specifically seeks to aid women and minority-owned businesses. Nicolet National Bank has made a habit of supporting local businesses through tough economic times, and they bring this mindset to their implementation of the fund. Nicolet National Bank has branches in Appleton, Green Bay, De Pere, Crivitz, Marinette and Menominee, Wisconsin.
Women’s Financial Management Seminar – American Heritage Federal Credit Union (Philadelphia, PA)
In September and October 2012, American Heritage Federal Credit Union hosted a 4-week seminar series on women’s financial management. The seminar covered topics like “how to achieve future financial goals” and “how to establish good credit”. The seminar was dedicated to improving the financial standing of all women, working and non-working alike. American Heritage Federal Credit Union has branches in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, Pennsylvania. Membership information can be found here.
Women, Wisdom & Wealth Seminars – Advancial (Dallas, TX)
As a part of its services to employer groups, Advancial provides financial seminars for employees. One of their seminars is on the subject of “Women, Wisdom & Wealth”, designed to help women prepare and plan for their financial future. Advancial has branches in Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Jersey. Membership eligibility information can be found here.
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