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Improving access to capital for women with W by ATB

Learn how W by ATB creates transparency in capital funding, specifically for clients who are established women business owners and leaders.

16 February 2024 4 min read

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Banks have traditionally been huge, complicated institutions, their processes and policies a mystery—especially when it comes to accessing capital. “This is unyielding to all clients,” explains Nikki Briggs, Head of W by ATB, “especially women business owners and leaders who traditionally haven’t been the primary client of banks.”

Established business leaders have comprehensive and unique financial needs for the business they run. They expect more from their financial institution, starting with fairness, transparency and communication in lending processes. They want to know how and why decisions are made about whether their business gets the support they need or not. That's what W by ATB is solving for.

"While standard ATB lending policies and processes apply, W by ATB is actively working to reduce biases and has created resources to provide women in business with greater insight into our credit process, so you’re better able to understand how to access the capital your business needs to support your growth and success goals." says Briggs.

Learn about W by ATB's lending process

Here’s an overview of our lending process.

While the lending structure looks similar in most financial institutions, the differentiator at W by ATB is transparency and a reduction of bias, so you can feel understood and prepared for the capital funding process.

Raising capital as a growing business

A growing business can raise capital by leveraging their strengths, leveraging what’s going well, leveraging the financial health of their company, and leveraging a financial partner who they feel a connection with.

A W by ATB Accredited Specialist will take the time to listen so they can understand not only where you’ve been, but where you're going. Through holistically understanding your story, they provide tailored solutions for you to take that next step to grow or scale your business.

It's our job as your partner to empower you with financial confidence and be transparent at every step along the way throughout that financing journey, whether it's what’s required of you or the next steps.

Even if it's a ‘no’ today, we explain the steps to how we get to a ‘yes’ in the future. For us, it's about communication. It's about slowing down to listen to you, understand what's important to you and your story. And it’s about helping you understand your financial health, your numbers, and how to leverage that in order to take your business to the next level.

W by ATB

W by ATB offers inclusive business banking services and advice to power possibility for women-led businesses looking to grow.

Preparing for funding conversations as established business owners and leaders

As you head to your initial funding conversation, bring your financial statements with you and be prepared to talk through them.

These financial statements include:

  • At least two years of historical financial statements.
  • A year-to-date financial statement—this includes an in house balance sheet and income statement.
  • A personal net worth statement, if you have one. Otherwise it will be provided during your meeting.
  • Confirmation of your personal assets, such as bank account statements, investment statements and tax assessments for any properties you own.
  • Two years of personal income tax returns and notice of assessments.
  • If there’s a material change to your business, bring projections and/or cash flow forecasts.

While you may not have all of these documents ready, the more you have available, the more your financial partner will be able to understand the story behind the numbers.

Unsure about how your financial statements will be interpreted? Knowing what you don’t know is okay too. Preparing a list of questions will allow you to move through the meeting with confidence, knowing that you've found a bank or banker that's there to help you. The way they respond to your questions reveals whether they’re willing to walk alongside you on that journey, help come up with a plan, and be transparent throughout the process and next steps.

Here are five common questions that clients often ask in their first meeting:

  1. What is the estimated turnaround time?
  2. What is the percentage of assurance that you can give me that I will qualify for this funding?
  3. How much is the cost to borrow?
  4. Do I need assets to secure the funding I want? If so, what kind of assets?
  5. What are the steps that I have to follow to go from this meeting, until the money is in my account?

“I encourage women in business to interview their banker,” advises Director of W by ATB, Karissa Schlaht. “Ask them how they’ll support you in your business. This allows you to understand if the banker really sees you, and understands you and your business.”

“It’s also important to be able to articulate your vision for where you're going. Come prepared to share as much as you can to paint a picture of what you want—whether that’s projections, a business plan, or simply a vision you feel ready to share.”

How is capital funding structured?

We structure loans based on each individual client, so no two capital funding structures are exactly the same. This is why it’s so important to interview your banker and make sure they understand your business and where you’re trying to go, so they can create the right structure for you.

Gender differences in accessing capital

“Consistent with the gender intelligence research provided by everywoman, I have observed the majority of women business owners and leaders as more intuitive, supportive and collaborative, and also more self critical, often underrating their business performance or experiencing a greater fear of disapproval, all while being more risk aware,” shares Schlaht.

All of these differences impact how women approach access to capital, and how they’re perceived by lenders.

Start your access to capital conversation with confidence

We’re here to listen to your story, answer your questions and create the best funding structure for your business. Talk with a W by ATB Accredited Specialist to discover what’s possible.

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