Banc One Targets Lending to Women-Owned Businesses

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Bank One and Liberty Bank in September began making calls to women-owned businesses in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas as part of a special 12-state sales effort.

Banc One, the Columbus, Ohio-based holding company of the banks, began mobilizing the sales force to reach out to 40,000 women-owned businesses in 20 major cities to introduce them to Bank One products and services.

Liberty, purchased by Banc One in June, still operates as a separate entity. Later this year or in early 1998, Liberty's two banks -- Liberty Bank and Trust of Oklahoma City and Liberty Bank and Trust of Tulsa -- will be converted to Banc One's common operating systems. During the calls, expected to last through next month, Bank One plans to introduce thousands of women entrepreneurs to exclusive programs designed for women-owned businesses. "Women-owned businesses account for one of every four jobs in the country and generate close to $2.3 trillion in sales," said Doug Ruhl, manager of the Oklahoma Business Group. "Bank One is determined to become the bank for women entrepreneurs. This concentrated sales effort reflects our commitment and helps Bank One anticipate this growing segment's needs." Women who meet with Bank One representatives will receive an educational audio cassette entitled "Get the Credit You Deserve." The cassette, produced by Bank One, is designed to help women business owners become educated about the credit process. Topics on the cassette include "Developing Your Business Plan," "How Lenders Appraise Your Loan" and "Financing for the Advanced Entrepreneur." Also during this period, Bank One will invite women to join Women Inc., an organization it formed a national alliance with in April. Through the end of the year, Bank One will give free one-year Women Inc. memberships to women entrepreneurs who meet the minimum sales- program requirements. In addition, women-owned businesses have access to credit information through Bank One Business Solutions for Women program with its dedicated, direct phone line: (800) 408-2743. Women Inc., the nation's largest organization devoted to the needs and concerns of women-owned businesses, was formed in late 1995. The organization provides access to discounts and services from more than 30 national premier suppliers and vendors, including AT&T, Federal Express and Kinko's. Research by Bank One indicates that women entrepreneurs seek access to information as well as credit. "Women business owners understand that knowledge is power in today's competitive business environment," Ruhl said. "They value support networks like Women Inc. that offer access to business ideas and information. Bank One is committed to being a vital part of such a network, through its affiliation with other organizations and through its own employees and associates." New officers The Oklahoma Credit Union League elected its 1997-98 officers at its 63rd annual meeting earlier this month in Oklahoma City. Those elected included Don Stivers, chairman, Oil Capital Federal Credit Union in Tulsa; Larry Weise, vice chairman, Wester Sun Federal Credit Union in Tulsa; and Mike Kloiber, treasurer, Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma City. …

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