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First Women’s Bank Celebrates Grand Opening

First Women's Bank, created to help women-owned businesses, recently held its Grand Opening.

First Women’s Bank (the Bank) recently celebrated its Grand Opening at its flagship location in Chicago. In addition, the Bank announces Mission Partners. Partners include Aon, Wendy’s, Comcast Corporation, William Blair and the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation (WGA). Their support will help to bridge the gender lending gap. Its newly announced strategic advisors, Sophia Bush and Nia Batts, will also attend the celebration.

“Small business owners support their families, their employees and their communities. We’ve formed this bank to support them,” said Marianne Markowitz, President and CEO, First Women’s Bank.

The Bank’s mission

First Women’s Bank is a first-of-its-kind, purpose-driven organization. Its mission is to grow the economy and advance the role of women within it. It’s the only commercial bank with female founders, owners and leaders in the U.S. It has a strategic focus on serving the women’s economy. It is also the first new bank in the State of Illinois in more than a decade. The Bank will serve a national lending and deposit market from a single flagship location in Chicago at 1308 N. Elston through a modern, digital banking experience.

“Illinois is the proud home of the nation’s first women-founded, women-owned and women-led bank dedicated to closing the gender equity gap in access to capital. With support from an all-women team of examiners and case managers from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, First Women’s Bank is now open for business,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Small businesses are the backbone of our Illinois economy. First Women’s Bank will be an excellent partner in ensuring diverse entrepreneurs have the guidance and resources they need to open, expand and thrive.”  

“In order for our city and economy to be at its strongest, residents from all walks of life must have equal access to opportunity and capital,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “First Women’s Bank is truly taking a tremendous step forward in the fight to empower and uplift women. I am grateful to President and CEO Marianne Markowitz and the entire First Women’s Bank team for leaning in with intention to help make Chicago and other cities across the country more equitable and inclusive.”  

Creating community support

The institution provides innovative capital solutions for small businesses. Additionally, it has created the FWB Collective, a community of resources, support and inspiration for small businesses. The Collective is also a platform through which individuals and organizations can provide tangible support for the women’s economy.

“As entrepreneurs and investors, we know what it’s like to navigate capital structures. They can support or impede the growth of a business. It’s incredibly important to us to make sure that women at every stage of their businesses are supported. They need the resources and opportunities that we know have not been historically made available to all,” said Nia Batts and Sophia Bush, First Women’s Bank Strategic Advisors. “First Women’s Bank is not only committed to providing innovative capital solutions for women-owned business but is passionate about the opportunity to improve the economic prosperity of the women their services and products touch.” 

“The potential for this bank to drive social change and to help bridge the gender and racial lending gaps is enormous,” said Markowitz. “We will draw significant strength in that effort from our partners.”

Mission Partners

First Women’s Bank’s Mission Partners are supporting the Bank through FDIC-insured mission deposits and lending programs. These will help expand economic opportunities for the women’s economy and women-owned businesses. The group of Mission Partners includes Aon, Wendy’s, Comcast Corporation, William Blair and the WGA.

“We are proud to support this critical initiative,” said Christa Davies, Aon’s Chief Financial Officer. “Equity for all is a top priority for Aon. The Bank’s work will bring vital resourcing to empower women in business and help blaze a trail for future generations of entrepreneurs and owners.”

“We are proud that Wendy’s is a Mission Partner with First Women’s Bank and are thrilled to help expand economic opportunities for women-owned businesses,” said Abigail Pringle, President, International and Chief Development Officer. “We look forward to seeing the impact First Women’s Bank will have and partnering to create opportunity for new franchisees to join the Wendy’s System.”

“The launch of First Women’s Bank is a win for the Illinois business community,” said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. “We know that having more diverse ownership of Illinois financial institutions can only lead to a stronger and more inclusive Illinois economy.”

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About First Women’s Bank

First Women’s Bank is the only women-founded, women-owned and women-led commercial bank in the country. It’s on a mission to grow the economy and advance the role of women within it. The Bank will serve a national lending and deposit market from a single flagship location in Chicago at 1308 N. Elston through a modern, digital banking experience.