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First Women's Bank Cleared to Raise Capital

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Innovative Women-led FWBank (in organization) Based in Chicago

Barack Ferrazzano’s Financial Institutions Group represented FWBank (in organization) (the “Bank”), which will do business as First Women’s Bank, in connection with its preparation to launch a capital raise of up to $46.5 million. The Bank received its permit to organize from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – an important regulatory approval process milestone – allowing the Bank to begin a formal capital raise. FWB Financial, Inc., the Bank's holding company, previously raised $3.5 million in seed money. The Bank, which would be the first startup bank in the Chicago area in over a decade, aims to open and begin operations in the second half of 2020.

The Bank also announced additions to its management ranks, appointing Tod Gordon as its Chief Financial Officer and Maria Tabrizi as its Chief Risk Officer. Gordon recently served as senior vice president of deposit products at Discover Financial Services, while Tabrizi was the chief audit executive at MB Financial Bank.

Chief Executive Officer Marianne Markowitz stated, “We are delighted to add the depth and breadth of experience that Tod and Maria bring... Tod's extensive banking and treasury experience, along with Maria's deep risk management, audit and bank operations expertise will accelerate our mission to grow the small business economy and advance the role of women within it." Markowitz previously served as the Obama administration’s Midwest regional administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Bank expects to be an active SBA lender.

The Bank isn’t using an investment bank to raise the money, targeting individuals rather than institutions in this round. Still, institutions will play a role in seeding the bank. There is “significant interest” from several global corporations based in Chicago to place substantial deposits in the bank as a way of supporting women in business, Markowitz said. Mission-driven investors and non-profits also are expected to be a source of deposits.

Barack Ferrazzano’s team was led by Brent McCauley, Dennis R. Wendte, and Emily N. Henkel. Executive compensation and equity plan matters were handled by Andrew K. Strimaitis and Lynne Mapes-Riordan.

To learn more, visit the links below:

About FWBank 

FWBank, doing business as First Women's Bank, will be an innovative, women-led commercial bank on a mission to grow the small business economy and advance the role of women within it. The Bank will serve a diverse national deposit and lending market from one flagship location in Chicago. 

To learn more about First Women’s Bank, visit www.firstwomensbank.com 

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