Financial Institutions Bank on Women

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16 July 2004


New York, NY, USA July 16, 2004

Celent forecasts that the number of women-owned businesses will reach 12.2 million by 2007, thereby outnumbering men-owned businesses.

Celents latest report, , examines the growth of women-owned businesses in the United States and the opportunities current and forecasted market changes are creating for financial institutions. It analyzes three exemplary bank initiatives in place at National City, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup and how these firms are attempting to grow their penetration in this underserved segment and increase the amount of available capital to become the providers of choice. A checklist of factors banks should consider when launching initiatives is also included.

"In an effort to increase revenues and improve their bottom lines, a growing number of banks are beginning to increase their investment in small businesses, and more specifically, the quickly growing women business owner segment," states Christine Barry, wholesale banking analyst and author of the report. "The number of women-owned businesses is not only growing at a faster rate than those owned by men, but women also control $14 trillion in wealth in the US, a number expected to almost double during the next decade," adds Barry.

Financial institutions are increasingly recognizing the business opportunity women are creating as they climb the corporate ladder, demonstrate their entrepreneurial abilities, and take charge of more financial decisions. As these women accumulate more wealth, require financing for their businesses, and seek out investment advice, banks have several opportunities to serve them and win their loyalty. This loyalty could lead to not only a significantly larger commercial loan portfolio, but also the ability to cross-sell other business as well as personal banking products.

Momentum is just beginning to build; today, Celent is aware of fewer than 20 banks in the US with initiatives targeted at women business owners. Over the next three years, however, at least another 3540 banks are expected to launch similar initiatives. Until most banks recognize the importance of segmentation and make an effort to address the unique needs and banking preferences of women, the loyalty of this important customer base will be reserved for a select few.


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