Citizens Union Bank’s commitment to diversity includes reaching out to, and lifting up, women business owners. Experts say many of the best business plans for start-ups are written by women, and women tend to be phenomenal multi-taskers, which is key to growing a thriving business.
“As a community bank, we are uniquely qualified to provide small businesses with a superior customer-centric relationship that enables them to grow and be successful,” says Debbie Prewitt, Market President for CUB. “Women-owned businesses have grown at a pace that is five times faster than the national average since the Great Recession in 2007. These businesses are creating jobs. For CUB, supporting women is good business.”*
One of CUB’s clients is M. Joseph Medical, a fast-growing prescription management and durable medical equipment company owned by CEO Julie Norris. Norris, who has worked for M. Joseph for 20 years, had the chance to buy the company from its retiring founder in 2013, and she jumped at the opportunity.
“You have to take risks in order to succeed,” Norris says of her decision to buy the company. “The doors of opportunity opened. Who wouldn’t want to jump and do this?”
M. Joseph is a national provider of medical management services to workers’ compensation insurance companies. It has a total of 50 clients and 18 employees, and future growth plans include hiring more sales staff and expanding in the western United States. The company has successfully captured a unique market niche.
“We’re kind of a one-stop shop,” Norris says of M. Joseph’s array of services. “It’s a fantastic niche for workers’ comp.”
Prewitt says CUB is excited to provide financial services to M. Joseph Medical because the company is exceptionally well run and on target for growth.
“The company is profitable. The business model is very sound. And Julie Norris helped to build the company to its current level of success,” Prewitt says. “That’s a Trifecta for sure!”
Norris, who did not set out to own a company when she first started working, says that it’s critical to be skilled and prepared when opportunity knocks.
“I feel like things happen for a reason and here I am,” Norris says of her status as CEO and business owner. “My advice is to take informed risks and surround yourself with great people.”
These great people include her employees, for whom Norris has high praise. And CUB is also made up of great people, Norris says.
“CUB is very involved, whether it’s with their clients or in the community,” Norris says. “They are inviting. They are innovative. They are involved. That’s what I’m looking for in a financial partner. They’re always available.”
When asked why CUB is an ideal bank for women-owned businesses, Prewitt has a clear and ready answer.
“By seeking out a community bank like CUB, they will find that we have greater flexibility than large banks in underwriting, loan structuring, and approvals,” Prewitt says. “We live and work in the communities that we serve. We know the business environment first-hand and foster a close relationship with the business owner.”
Norris and Prewitt are both formidable women in talent and expertise, and it is clear that both are unstoppable.