Empowering women entrepreneurs: Impressia Bank tackles $1.7 trillion finance gap in Central PA

07/09/2024

by Holly Riddle 

According to the World Economic Forum, the “total micro, small or medium enterprise finance gap for women is estimated to be valued at $1.7 trillion. Yet women entrepreneurs own 22% of micro-enterprises and 32% of small and medium enterprises. More broadly, 740 million women globally are unbanked…and 2.4 billion women worldwide lack the same economic rights as men.” 

However, if these financial issues were to be addressed, the World Economic Forum states, we could add $10 trillion to the world economy by 2030. Part of addressing these issues is putting women at the center of designing financial products — and in central Pennsylvania, Impressia Bank is doing its part.  

In June, The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh announced its 2024 annual member award recipients, among them, Clearfield-headquartered CNB Bank, which was recognized for its DEI commitments and initiatives. 

  Impressia Columbus Event | Impressia Bank

One example of this commitment? CNB Bank’s launch of its Impressia Bank division in May 2023. Impressia Bank is overall virtual, but, as of late 2023, debuted in Happy Valley, where it also offers in-person experience at CNB Bank locations such as the one on Old Gatesburg Road in State College.  

“The purpose of Impressia Bank is the financial and professional development of women,” explained Impressia’s president, Mary Kate Loftus. “[On the] side of financial development, that’s where we get into how women are given access to capital and the money they need, whether it’s to grow their business or pursue their own financial dreams. On the professional side, it’s also about bringing women together to better understand their career potential, what they can earn and how to enhance their network so that they can continue to grow professionally.” 

Pathways to Progress | Impressia Bank

Loftus continued, “Then, our mission is to close the gender gap in financing and funding, and our vision…is redefining the banker-client relationship. That means, when a client comes to Impressia Bank, whether it’s through a referral or you meet us at an event or you just go online and submit an interest form, you actually get to talk to a real person.” 

But what does this purpose, mission and vision look like in real life?  

As an example, Loftus mentioned how Impressia Bank recently offered free DiSC assessments to clients, which can help individuals further their career development, but which typically offer thousands of dollars; likewise, clients have access to Profit First financial coaching. Additionally, when you make first contact with the bank and talk to that “real person,” Loftus clarified that they will meet the client where they’re at, in plain language, and help them not just, for example, jump straight into bank debt financing, but also look at other options and resources, opening doors for clients to grow their businesses in unprecedented ways. Impressia Bank also offers a financial wellness center that’s available to anyone, not just clients, and, in May, launched its Women in Business Academy.  

In short, Impressia Bank offers a support system and community for women, not just run-of-the-mill financial products.  

Steering Committee at Impressia Bank 

It's not just women entrepreneurs that Impressia caters to, though. Any woman in leadership is a good match for the Impressia community and services, and the bank serves clients all across the country, working in a variety of industries and for everything from startups to multimillion-dollar companies. However, no matter where they are or how they work, Loftus said she’s noticed a trend among the bank’s clientele. 

“A theme that consistently emerges is that many of our clients have said they just didn't feel that they received respect from their financial services provider, and that they love coming [to Impressia Bank] and saying, ‘Wow, the banker really listened to me, respected my ideas, was able to help me and take it to the next level,’” she said. 

Ready to change the world?  

“State College is full of brilliant people and inspiring entrepreneurs. The technology and the creativity in this small community is mind-blowing.”

When considering which new markets might welcome Impressia Bank, Happy Valley seemed a perfect fit.  

“State College is full of brilliant people and inspiring entrepreneurs. The technology and the creativity in this small community is mind-blowing…It completely made sense,” said Loftus. “Central Pennsylvania, uniquely, is a great community, where very like-minded women are ready to change the world.”  

For those Happy Valley women interested in learning more — and possibly even ready to change the world — there are multiple ways to reach out via the Impressia Bank website, and they can also get involved by keeping an eye out for Impressia Bank-hosted events.  

“Central Pennsylvania, uniquely, is a great community, where very like-minded women are ready to change the world.”  

Regardless of if you partner up with Impressia Bank or not, though, Loftus had a few parting words of advice: “The best thing to do is take that action. Set the time for yourself aside. Do not put it off, and develop your own financial plan for your life.” 

Visit https://impressiabank.bank/ for more.  

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