First Women’s Bank is Chicago’s first new bank in over a decade

In addition to tennis legend Billie Jean King, whom the bank has previously named as a key investor, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America and Boston-based Fidelity Investments were among the original owners of the fledgling bank. .

Marianne Markowitz, former regional director of the Small Business Administration under the Obama administration, is the CEO.

“We are grateful to the many investors who recognized the strength of this team, the power of our innovative strategy and our compelling mission to grow the economy and advance the role of women within it,” she said. stated in a press release.

The bank will focus on small businesses with a mission to lend to women-owned businesses across the country. It will be primarily a digital business, with a single location at 1308 N. Elston Ave.

The $ 30 million is well below the $ 50 million organizers initially hoped to raise during this phase. But it remains one of the largest, if not the largest, sums ever raised in Illinois to start a new bank.

There are over 200 investors, spokeswoman Colleen Ryan said in an email.

“We have far exceeded the minimum regulatory capital required for launch,” she said. “The market conditions are so favorable for a bank with our strategy and our mission that we have made the decision to stop the offering, so that we can start operations now. We have the opportunity to continue raising capital and we hope to do so. “

The more capital a bank has, the more it can lend. With $ 30 million on hand, First Women’s Bank has the capacity to provide approximately $ 300 million in loans.

The bank also announced more executive hires. Dan Konwent will be the credit manager. He most recently served as National Credit Manager for Radius Bank, a Boston-based community online bank. The controller will be Patricia Rosa, who spent two decades at Brickyard Bank in Lincolnwood, most recently as senior vice president and cashier.

The number of Chicago-area banks has declined over the past 15 years, largely due to some 50 bank failures in the aftermath of the financial crisis, as well as the sustained pace of bank acquisitions. In the meantime, there has been a historically low number of startups. This is true for most of the country, but even more so for the Chicago area, which historically has more banks than any other metropolitan area in the United States.

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