- Chicago-based First Women's Bank, a startup with a focus on the women's economy, filed applications with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to become an Illinois-chartered bank, it announced this week.
- The women-led commercial bank aims to open in 2020 and serve small and midsize businesses and individual deposit clients.
- The filing is the Chicago area's first de novo application since 2007.
First Women's Bank's founders include Marianne Markowitz, former acting director of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama; Beth Wnuk, a former regional president for PNC Bank; Amy Fahey, a former JPMorgan executive; Lisa Kornick, an entrepreneur and an owner of the DMK restaurant group in Chicago; and attorney Melissa Widen.
The bank is looking to raise $50 million in capital, Markowitz told Banking Dive in an email.
"Women-owned businesses represent a vast, powerful and growing part of the economy, and they are demanding a different banking experience," she said.
Forty-two percent of all businesses are women-owned and generate $1.9 trillion annually in revenue, according to the bank's market research.
"Now is the time for a bank that values the contributions small businesses make to our economy and prioritizes connection, solutions and responsiveness," Markowitz said.
Although the bank aims to disrupt the women's economy, Markowitz said it will compete across all traditional banking verticals for clients.
"We believe there will be tremendous support for this initiative, and deploying all that capital in a strategic and timely manner will be our biggest challenge," she said. "That's why we are focused on building an incredibly experienced and talented leadership and lending team."