First Women’s Bank, a Chicago-based de novo, announced Wednesday it received all necessary regulatory approvals to begin business as an Illinois-chartered, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured commercial bank.
The bank said it raised more than $30 million through its private placement offering with the support of an investor group including legendary tennis player Billie Jean King, Bank of America and Fidelity Investments.
- The bank, which plans to open in early fall, would be the Chicago area's first de novo to open since 2007, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
"We are proud to be launching the first new bank in Illinois in more than a decade and the only bank in the country that is women-owned and women-led with a strategic focus on the women’s economy," Marianne Markowitz, the bank’s president and CEO, said in a statement. "We are grateful to the many investors who recognized the strength of this team, the power of our innovative strategy and compelling mission to grow the economy and advance the role of women within it."
The bank filed applications with the FDIC and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in September 2019, with an original goal to open in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic affected its launch timeline.
The bank also had an initial goal to raise $50 million in capital, which was also slowed by the change in economic conditions brought on by the pandemic.
The de novo, however, adjusted its activity to conserve capital, said Markowitz, who was the former acting director of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama.
"We have limited fixed expenses, so we’re able to retain the flexibility to weather unanticipated delays," she told Banking Dive last year.
First Women’s Bank said it will serve a national lending and deposit market from its single flagship location in Chicago.
"Small business owners support their families, their employees and their communities — we’ve formed First Women’s Bank to support them," Markowitz said. "We are more than a bank — we’ll provide innovative capital solutions, a platform to demonstrate support for the women’s economy through mission deposits, and a community to resource, network and inspire small businesses."