Either men are scared to ask questions on their mind when it comes to financial literacy, or there’s a gender disparity when it comes to women entrepreneurs and business owners knowing what resources and products are available to them, according to market research conducted last year by Baton Rouge-based b1Bank.
Misty Albrecht, marketing director at b1Bank, shared some of the results from the research at this morning’s Leadership and Lattes meeting, a local women’s business development group hosted by Dima Ghawi.
Last fall, the bank hosted male and female groups to go over banking products available. For the male group, there were no questions asked, according to Albrecht. But for every group of women, there were up to five women who would say they didn’t know what certain services are.
“Is this the same for men, but they’re more confident and ego-driven and didn’t want to ask the questions?” Albrecht says. “Women weren’t educated on what the products were and what products were available to help their business.”
Another insight, she says, is it appears women are “settling” when it comes to their relationship with their banker. While women said they were happy with their current banking relationship, they also indicated they wished the banker would understand them or their business better.
“We want more, but we’re not raising our hands to ask for more,” Albrecht says.
Another finding of the bank’s research was that in one market, women felt like they were treated differently than men when they entered banks to do business and that sometimes it wouldn’t be until the banker pulled up their accounts and saw the amount of cash flow that the women felt like they were being taken seriously. For this study, the bank surveyed three metro territories: Baton Rouge, Dallas and New Orleans. Albrecht declined to share which market women expressed those concerns.
Brandon LeBlanc, a financial consultant with the bank, encourages women to have meetings with three separate financial advisers before choosing one to do business with and to come prepared to meetings with a list of questions.
“Have in mind some goals—ask what do I want to achieve? When do I want to retire and how much money do I want to have?” he says. “From there you can build questions from those goals, and you’re able to feel whether you have a connection or not with that adviser.”