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Breaking Glass

Creating an online place for women seeking financial advice

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Starting a women’s initiative has been something The Provident Bank — New Jersey’s oldest community bank — has wanted to do for a long time.

“Women have power as financial decision makers, so we decided to conduct a survey with customers and non-customers on women’s attitudes toward banking,” said Diana Braga, public relations & corporate donations manager at Provident Bank.

Provident received some alarming results:

  • Only 10 percent of the women surveyed felt that the market understood them — meaning 90 percent are struggling to relate.
  • Overall, respondents felt as though financial ads depict women as being dependent on men.
  • Generally, women want to seek advice through financial service companies to help them gain monetary success and freedom, but feel as though their current institutions are not adequately addressing their consumer needs for education.

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Additionally, Provident Bank learned that women generally view themselves as members of a community before they view themselves as individuals, and also use social media more often and in different ways than men do.

“Learning about women’s attitudes is how we decided to develop a program to meet those needs,” Braga said.

After conducting research, creating the program and launching Facebook and LinkedIn pages back in June, the Provident4Women online community launched Monday.

“The 20 women who are members of Provident4Women are from all different walks of life,” Braga said.

“What we hope to do is connect with women by relating through our experiences in addition to providing them with financial advice.”

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The website focuses on four areas of interest: family and home; career and business; life goals; and investments.

Each month, new videos and original and curated content will be posted to Provident4Women, as well as its LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

Examples include Dawn Scocco’s “A Step Back Can Lead to Two Steps Forward,” a personal insight into the struggles the portfolio manager in business banking at Provident Bank faced during her career.

Or “I Want to Start Investing! How Do I Begin?” by Diana Allard, another portfolio manager at Provident Bank, which provides helpful tips on how to start saving when it seems too confusing.

“Women told us they want stories and tips from women,” Braga said. “They’re also seeking to have conversations with women who have similar experiences and challenges. That’s what Provident4Women is all about — we’re women helping women.”

Also on NJBIZ's Women in Business "Breaking Glass" blog:

Women in business from a male perspective

Girl Scouts: It's not just about the cookies

Hobby Lobby: A ‘supreme’ misunderstanding

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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