Women-Led Financial Instiutions

Women-led financial institutions are uniquely placed to promote universal economic growth while furthering women’s financial advancement. Not only are they committed to providing their customers with high-quality financial products and services, but they are also often mission-driven. Many women-led banks and credit unions, for example, focus on extending financial assistance and loans to women in business. 

According to one report, women own 43% of all small businesses in the U.S., but only a fraction of them apply for financing. There are also disparities between womens’ small business loans and those received by their male counterparts. Women-owned business loans are typically smaller than men-owned business loans.

Women-led banks and credit unions are part of the effort to address this huge gap in the market. With a long and rich history of leading the movement to establish credit unions in the United States, women have always been at the forefront of driving value-based change in the financial services industry. 

When you select a women-led bank or credit union, you’re investing your savings in a financial institution that is bucking overall industry leadership trends.

Key takeaways

  • Mission-driven: Many women-led banks work towards making their financial products and services more accessible to female entrepreneurs. 

  • Inclusive: As more women occupy positions of power in banks and credit unions, their policies and products become more focused on ensuring equitable access. 

  • Role models: Women in leadership roles in the financial industry serve as role models to young women who hope to find similar success in their careers.

The history of women in banks and credit unions

The first credit union in the US was established in 1908. Over the next few decades, women were active leaders of the credit union movement as similar institutions were established all over the country. 

Perhaps the most prominent among female credit union pioneers is Louise McCarren Herring, who is widely known as the “mother of credit unions.” Herring became involved in the credit union movement in the 1930s and was a passionate advocate of their benefits for working-class families. She is credited with establishing 500 credit unions across the state of Ohio. 

Around the same time as Herring, the formidable Dora Maxwell was leading the credit union charge on the East Coast, taking on big banks in their opposition to this new type of financial institution. In the end, she was able to seed hundreds of credit unions across the country over a prolific career. 

Finally, Renée Sattiewhite has played a pivotal role in banking. From beginning her career as a bank teller to becoming the pioneer of the credit union movement, with a special emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, her impact on banking has been profound. 

Together, these women were instrumental in shaping credit unions as a means of providing affordable loans and financial services to women and other disadvantaged communities. It’s partly because of their efforts that women take center stage in the credit union industry today, accounting for 51% of CEOs and 33% of board members

What are the advantages of women-led financial institutions?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) contends that having women as financial service regulators would lead to greater stability in the banking system as a whole. The IMF also points out that this  would result in more effective fiscal and monetary policies. 

Beyond these advantages at the macroeconomic level, women-led financial institutions impart multiple benefits for institution patrons. They include:

  • Access to financial services 

A women-led financial institution or bank is generally more likely to expand access to financial services for women and other underserved communities. The U.S. is home to nearly 13 million women-owned businesses. Extending financial services to this huge market is a priority, as it can help address the gender and wealth gaps that persist in many communities.

  • Financial inclusion 

Women-led financial institutions may be better equipped to understand the specific financial needs and challenges faced by women and can tailor their services accordingly. This is often seen in products like women-owned small business loans and women of color business loans. This can help to increase financial inclusion for women and other marginalized groups.

  • Stronger corporate social responsibility 

Women-led financial institutions have generally tended to prioritize social responsibility and impact. This includes issues such as environmental sustainability, community development, and ethical business practices. Research by the European Central Bank, for instance, has found that banks with more female directors lend less to polluting industries. 

Grow your savings with women-led banks and credit unions

If you want to choose a financial institution with female leadership, Raisin can help you find the best women-led banks and credit unions out there. 

Our online platform hosts financial products from women-led credit unions and banks that can help you grow your savings.

Our user-friendly platform makes it easy to compare rates, terms, and features across products, including high-yield savings accounts, CDs, and more. Whether you're looking to grow your savings, plan for the future, or support your community, Raisin can help you find the right financial products to meet your needs.

All of the institutions listed on our marketplace are federally insured. You also have the advantage of managing multiple accounts with a single login on our platform. 

Give your savings a boost by signing up with Raisin today!

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