Magazine article American Banker

Women's Lending Unit Reaps Deposits at Tex. Bank

Magazine article American Banker

Women's Lending Unit Reaps Deposits at Tex. Bank

Article excerpt

Figuring that plenty of women entrepreneurs would prefer working with women bankers, a community bank in Plano, Tex., has established a division to serve them.

Legacy Bank of Texas opened its Women's Financial Group in January with an all-female staff. Through March, it had collected more than $300,000 of deposits, said Gail Penry, the group's director and a senior vice president at $742 million-asset Legacy.

"We're really starting to see some strong activity," Ms. Penry said. "We've attracted some strong women we want to loan money."

Ms. Penry said Legacy's women's group is also backing a new, Dallas-based Web site, e-womennetwork.com, created for women who want to do business with other women.

"There are a whole lot of dynamic women in our market," said Susan Moore, Legacy's director of consumer banking services. "A whole lot of glass ceilings are being cracked."

Ms. Moore said Legacy patterned its Women's Financial Group on an identically named unit at $22 billion-asset Zions Bancorp. in Salt Lake City. In doing so, it was prompted by what she termed the "unbelievable response" to a survey last June that asked businesswomen whether they felt more comfortable dealing with a woman lender.

"Some women wrote pages and pages," said Ms. Moore. "One woman, that she'd always been considered a 'skirt' by male loan officers and that she had a hard time being taken seriously."

Not surprisingly, experts say many women entrepreneurs turn to family members or finance companies for business capital. …

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