Commitment is to Northeastern Pennsylvania
As part of an ongoing initiative to help women entrepreneurs in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Fidelity Bank has pledged to provide at least $5 million in business loans to local, women- owned and operated businesses.
In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that 63% of women start their business with less than $25,000 in capital, not because they don't have access to it, but because women business owners don't believe that they would get credit even if they applied.
Margi McGrath, owner of Dunmore based Universal Printing Company and member of the Women Business Enterprise National Council, appreciates that Fidelity Bank is taking an active and positive role in helping the local economy.
"Fidelity Bank has been the 'wind beneath the wings' of Universal Printing," says McGrath. "From the days when believing in us meant taking a major financial leap, Fidelity was there," she says.
Since the recession began in 2008, Fidelity Bank has lent over $120 million dollars to over 500 businesses throughout area. "Our commitment is always to Northeastern Pennsylvania," says Timothy O'Brien, Executive Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender at Fidelity. "This is our marketplace, and this is where we do business."
Community banks, like Fidelity, loan nearly 90% of all deposits locally while bigger financial institutions are only required to keep a limited number of loans within the area they operate. This difference becomes especially important when local economies experience a slowdown. The national "chain" system of banking moves money from struggling markets into thriving ones. On the other hand, banking locally is a way of investing money in the future of the area.
Part of being a community bank is demonstrating a vested interest in helping the local economy prosper and according to a recent study by the New Rules Project, more than half of all business loans under $100,000 are financed by community banks just like Fidelity.
"We are interested in helping women succeed at being business owners and job creators by being a partner and trusted advisor to them both personally and professionally," explains Rosalia Strasser, Vice President and Business Banking Relationship Manager. "More and more women-owned businesses are approaching us for assistance in not only managing their cash flow, but also to help with growth plans and operating budgets. Our relationships with groups such as the Northeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) have encouraged us to seek out opportunities to partner with women owned businesses."
"We would never have been able to grow and compete in an ever-changing industry without the Fidelity team," McGrath attests.
Interested women business owners can stop in at any one of Fidelity Bank's eleven offices or call 1-800-388-4380 for additional information.