Associated Bank next month will kick off a program designed to educate women on various aspects of personal and commercial banking.
Patricia Kandziora, vice president of small business banking for Associated in Milwaukee, will head the program, Banking for Women. She bills it as an outreach program that will provide services and resources for women seeking personal or business banking information.
"Many women are more comfortable working with other women, especially when it comes to issues such as finances and banking," Kandziora said. "Banking is one of those industries in which there are few women. Our objective is for Associated to be the organization that connects women to banks."
Banking for Women will offer seminars on topics such as personal net worth, credit issues, the stock market, understanding financial statements and planning for retirement. Local professionals will lead the seminars.
"There’s a stereotype that men are the ones who deal with a family’s finances," Kandziora said. "But what if a woman is left in a situation in which she must take charge of finances? We want to get women more actively involved in their own financial situations."
The program will provide speakers to women’s business organizations, nonprofits and community groups. Additionally, Banking for Women will make a specific effort to reach out to female college students. The goal is to educate college-age women on saving and using credit wisely.
"College students are major targets for credit card companies," Kandziora said. "A lot of mistakes students make can be prevented early if they’re educated on how to use credit."
For women in business, Kandziora hopes Banking for Women will bring women into business partnerships with Associated Bank. In addition to providing financial counseling, the program can connect women with Associated’s network of attorneys, accountants and other resources, she said.
"We may not be able to answer all questions, but we have many contacts and resources we can put our customers in touch with," Kandziora said. "They don’t have to go to the Yellow Pages."
A Banking for Women kick-off event will be held at 7:30 a.m. May 6 at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The breakfast meeting will feature Carol Schneider, CEO of SEEK Inc. as the keynote speaker.
"It’s really important that women are being recognized and catered to," Kandziora said.
Earlier this month, Kandziora was presented with the 2003 Association for Women in Communications Leading Change Award. She also was the recipient of the 1999 SBA Women in Business Advocate Award. Kandziora is a business and financial mentor to women and minority clients of Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.
April 18, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee, By Heather Stur, SBT Reporter