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News : Business Jan 31, 2013 - 8:04:38 AM

Women’s Business Development Council Financial Center debuts amid fanfare

By Women’s Business Development Council

Governor Malloy and The Financial Community Assist in the Official Launch

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Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Fran Pastore, CEO, Women’s Business Development Council and Catherin Smith, Commissioner, CT Department of Economic Development
Stamford, CT - Political dignitaries, members of the financial community, honored guests and Women’s Business Development Council staff, board members, supporters and clients gathered at the new WBDC offices on Bedford Street in Stamford to join Fran Pastore, CEO, Women’s Business Development Council, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy; James, Bzdrya, First Niagara Bank; Lily Lopez, Citibank and Kellie Boland, RBS and Citizen’s Bank as they officially cut the ribbon on the new WBDC Financial Clinic.

Reflecting on the past 16 years of the WBDC’s landmark accomplishments today was a hallmark in its legacy. Opening the WBDC Financial Clinic utilizing a loan from the State of Connecticut Small Business Express program and a grant from its strategic financial partners, First Niagara Bank, Citibank, RBS and Citizen’s Bank evidences Connecticut’s commitment along with the financial community to create jobs.

The expansion project was funded through Governor Malloy’s successful Small Business Express program administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development with a $239,000 loan and a matching grant of $100,000. Kellie Boland, a sabbatical volunteer from RBS and Citizens Bank, managed WBDC Financial Center’s construction project.

WBDC’s Financial Clinic (FC) will provide a holistic approach to achieving economic security and business sustainability and growth for Connecticut residents and businesses. The primary goal is to achieve individual economic security by addressing clients’ immediate financial challenges and helping them create trajectories for long-term objectives and financial mobility. The FC will provide training, education and insight into all critical aspects of personal and business finances in an environment where clients can work with instructors, counselors or independently on addressing their financial challenges.

From Left to Right: Lily Lopez (Citibank);Catherine Smith, Commissioner (CT-DECD); Fran Pastore, CEO, Women’s Business Development Council; Eileen Auld (Citibank)
“This is not just an investment in a building. It is an investment in job creation and economic opportunity,” said the Governor. “Fran and her staff provide expert advice, guidance and financial support to those looking to start or grow a business, and expanding the organization’s capacity in that regard will have a positive impact on the local economy. The WBDC Financial Clinic will be a great asset for the community and region.”

WBDC Financial Clinic also became a reality through the generosity of First Niagara Bank, Citibank, RBS and Citizens Bank. “Creating a vehicle that will truly impact our state’s economy and the well-being of Women Owned Businesses from this day forward was only a dream for the WBDC years ago. Our partners in this endeavor, First Niagara Bank, Citibank, RBS and Citizens Bank and the State of Connecticut are truly visionaries. With their support we will be able to serve over 125 clients in the initial year of operation, “ stated Fran Pastore, CEO, WBDC.

Statistically the WBDC predicts that of those who take advantage of the services provided by the Financial Clinic for business purposes, 10% will obtain capital to start and/or grow their business and 50% will gain better insight into their business finances and become equipped to make more informed decisions.

“First Niagara is delighted to continue its financial support for the Women’s Business Development Council, an organization that has accomplished so much to advance entrepreneurship and financial self-reliance among women in Connecticut,” said James Bzdyra, Marketing Executive and SVP, Commercial Banking, who spoke at the ribbon cutting on behalf of First Niagara.

Utilizing the services of the WBDC Financial Clinic for personal finances is also an option. In that regard, the outcomes predicted are that 75% will develop a household budget; 75% will gain more insight into their personal finances; 50% will demonstrate a consistent pattern of paying bills on time ;50% will demonstrate a regular savings pattern; 25% will improve their credit scores; 25% will increase their household income and 25% will access new banking services.

“We’re proud to support the Financial Clinic which will serve as a ‘one-stop’ resource for individuals seeking economic empowerment,” said Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development.  “Through this expansion, WBDC will be able to help more individuals achieve financial stability.  Knowing how to manage business finance is critical for success, but many people don’t realize that managing personal finances is just as important for one to succeed in life.  We must provide the tools to help individuals on a path to financial security.”

Winter 2013 Planned Programs include Yes, It that Time Again – Tax Season – Workshop; Budget Coaching – client meetings; Budget Coaching – coaches meetings; Things Your Parents Never Taught You: Building Personal Credit; Budget Coaching Orientation; Advanced Coaching meetings; Family Economic Security Program- client meetings; Walk In Hours and Launch Smart Money program.

“Citizens Bank and RBS have a strong relationship with WBDC which has grown over the years. We are honored to support WBDC through our Community Service Sabbatical program and through the Budget Coaching program. The new office space holds great potential for the WBDC, the local economy and our entire state. Congratulations to the staff and board on the launch of the Financial Clinic,” said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Connecticut.

The WBDC Financial Clinic is located at the WBDC headquarters at 184 Bedford Street, Suite 201 in Stamford, CT.

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