If images of bankers, wide-lapel auto financing managers, or even Old Man Potter go through your head when thinking of individuals in the financial industry, you’re not alone. And if none of those images were of women in those roles, there’s probably a reason for that.
Banks, financiers, and finance-focused businesses have not historically attracted women.
However, Lendio is charting a new course—one where women are valued and appreciated for the skills they bring to the table.
A 2021 report by McKinsey confirms this stereotype and notes while a little over half of all entry-level roles in banking are held by women, at the executive level, that falls to maybe one-quarter. Compared to teaching, where women hold 68% of jobs, banking and finance have a long way to go.
But how does this play out in Utah? Brock Blake, co-founder and CEO of Lendio, the nation’s leading small business financing marketplace and a Utah-based company, notes that his company is committed to making financing accessible to all business owners. And with more than 13 million U.S. small businesses considered “women-owned,” it’s natural that Lendio would find ways to ensure it’s reaching this essential part of its audience.
“Women are always championed at Lendio,” said Blake. “We discovered during the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that 37% of our first first-draw PPP borrowers were women. That may not sound like a lot, but when you compare it to industry statistics for small business financing, which indicate that just 16% of all small business loans and only 7% of venture capital funding going to women, we’re incredibly proud to be ahead of that curve. And we keep striving to do more.”
A Powerful Workforce of Women
The Lendio team, at their offices in Utah, New York, and remote workers throughout the country, comprises 32% women. “We’re working on several initiatives to recruit and retain more diversity in our team, and our efforts are changing our statistics,” notes Blake. “Our numbers continue to increase, from 29% of women in December 2021 to 22% in January 2020. We still have work to do to achieve the national average, but it’s exciting to see this percentage climb, and its impact on our business is stunning.”
How do Lendio’s statistics compare to women in other industries? Following are a few.
- 51% of the U.S. population are women
- 68% of teachers in the U.S. are women
- 32% of the Lendio workforce are women
- 27% of the U.S. Congress are women
- 24% of rocket scientists (or employees of the aerospace industry) are women
- 24% of chefs are women
It’s About the Benefits and Support
Lendio offers a competitive benefits package that caters to working moms, including paid maternity and paternity leave and perks ranging from opportunities for remote or hybrid work and nursing rooms in corporate offices. The company recently launched a series of focus groups with female employees to gain deeper insight into women’s experiences in the workforce and at Lendio and gather input on ways to make the organization a better fit for current and future Lendions.
“As employers, our goal is to ensure everyone has the resources and support needed to experience positive outcomes in the workplace,” said Faith Barela, senior director of human resources. “For us, that goal drove the launch of an annual Women of Lendio luncheon in our Lehi office, where we had an opportunity to meet other women in the organization, connect, and talk. It was eye-opening and resulted in powerful exchanges.”
Barela noted one initiative she is particularly excited about is a mentorship program the company is developing. Lendio has also added more floating holidays because of employee feedback and rolled out an employee experience fund that encourages and rewards time off. “As a working woman and mother, I understand that downtime or any time for self-care is essential,” Barela said. “Whenever we can do something to facilitate it—whether through our onsite yoga classes or money to take a well-deserved vacation—that’s a win for everyone at Lendio.”