The Maryland Bank Commission, in a little-publicized action Jan 13, approved the articles of incorporation for the first bank in the state organized primarily to serve women.
Backers of First Women's Bank of Maryland said they hope to be able to open in six months to a year, although commission officials warned that in some cases the steps between articles of incorporation and the charter takes two years or more.
State National Bank's Bethesda branch is operated as a "women's headquarters," but Women's organizer Joan Schonholtz said she still sees a need for a women's bank. At State National, she says, "it's still a male board making policy without in-put from women."
The organizers still must file a feasibility study with the bank commission, a prospectus with the state's security commissioner and an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. before the 12 million capitalization program can begin. When these steps are completed, and the bank has hired personnel to manage the bank, the Commission again will examine the application before granting a charter.
Organizers of the bank include Schonholtz, president of the Service Guild of Washington; Francine Levinson, who works with her husband at Lamps Unlimited; Sandra Bender; Melvyn J. Estrin, who runs a hospital management firm: Dr. Avis Y. Pointer, president of the Center for Human Services and former president of Marjorie Webster College; Nella Manes, executive vice president of Ehrlich Manes & Associates; Bruce C. Winston, a builder and real estate broker; and Gloria Haft, vice president of Dart Drug.
The bank plans a Rockville location in the White Flint area.
According to Schonholtz, the organizers have had "a tremendous number of people calling." She noted that they received a great many calls after the Women's National Bank of Washington was denied its charter by comptroller of the currency Jan. 3.