For the first time American history, investors are being offered a chance to buy shares in a federally chartered women's bank.
Over the past weekend, more than 2,000 offering circulars were mailed to persons who have expressed an interest in the Woman's National Bank of Washington, a full service commercial bank scheduled to open here in December.
Organizers of the bank are seeking to raise an initial $2 million through the sale of 100,000 shares of stock at $20 apiece - with a minimum purchase of 10 shares or an investment of $200 of 10 shares or an investment of $200.
Already, organizers and officers of the proposed bank have purchased 23,750 shares or 24 per cent of the stock to be outstanding. No officer, director or organizer can own more than 5 per cent of the shares and no one individual may own more than 10 per cent.
Women's Natrional Bank was first proposed in 1975 but its initial application was turned down by the Comptroller of the Currency last Jan 7, the result of what one bank officer says was "mis-communication" about the "obvious" needs of women for better financial services.
After application was rewritten to emphasize goals of adding women and after some congressional pressure, the government approved organization of the bank last July.
In an interview yesterday, the proposed bank's chief executive said she feels "very potimistic" about the stock sale. President and director Emily Womach said an advisory committee of several dozen community lenders in scheduling parties at which the bank's projected program is to be explained.
Although the stock circular indishortly after New York's Day, Wocates that Women's Bank will open mach said she hopes the stock sale will move rapidly enough to permit an opening in early December.
The bank's initial office is nearly completed on the ground floor at 1627 K St. NW and Womach said the institution will have nine employees at the start, offering a full range of retail banking and lending services as well as a 24 hoiur automatic teller called the "Big W Money Machine."
Womach brings to the Washington financial community a 27-year career in banking and government service, mostly in Delaware. She was vice president and corporate secretary at of Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware. She also was state treasurer from 1971-1973, having been the only Democrat elected in a GOP sweep during the 1970 elections.
Womach's formal title in the offering circular is "chairperson" of the board of organizers but Meredith M. Homet, another organizer, said yesterday that the final title may be simply, "chair." Homet is the person nominated to be "vice chair."
Of 15 initial directors at Women's Bank 6 are men. As a national bank, the new Washingotn institution must offers its service to all individuals and Womach said that will be her goal.
At the same time, she said, there will be a difference. "Attitude is our greatest asset, "Womach said, repeated her fledging bank's new slogan. Many women as well as men, she asserted, often have simple questions about their financial matters but "they are afraid to talk to a banker."
Women's bank can offer "special services" for these individuals, particularly those persons engaged in small business, said Womach, whose experience include being a teller, starting a bank bookkeeping departments, managing a loan department and supervising marketing, personnel, public relations, municiapl finance, customer relations and trusts.
Women's Bank will not have a trust department initially but Womach said she expects to establish such an operation in the future. In addition, officers already are searching for potential sites of bank branches in the District.
In the interview with Womach and Homet, and in the offering circular, these other details were revealed:
A key strategy in building deposits for Women's Bank will be an approach to corporations, trade association and union groups - seeking to provide not only banking services but also aproviding such institutions an opportunity to show "their interest inequal employment opportunity . . . to help women enter the mainstream of the financial community in a history-making venture," Homet said.
The bank has received more than $3 million in non-binding deposit pledges from some 1,000 individuals and institution, 67 per cent from within the District.
Women's bank will emphasize consumer loans and mail or telephone services. "Brown bag" luncheon programs on financial problems of women will be held and such presentation also may be scheduled for weekend or evening hours.
Although the Washington bank founded primarily to give women more financial support and credit opportunities, several state-chartered women's bank currently are open in Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, New York and Greenwich, Conn. Although the New York bank has had a shaky start the one in Richmond reportedly has been exceeding its projected growth.
The offering circular notes that most new banks experience losses for the first three years of existence and there "is no reason to anticipate that the (Women's) bank will have a different experience."