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OSCPA member helping launch first women-owned bank in Ohio

Written on Sep 21, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager   

Years ago, when Lori Kaiser, CPA, asked for a loan for her business, she was told by two different banks to bring her husband in first, despite him not being involved in Kaiser Consulting.  

“I definitely felt that I didn't have the access to the capital that I needed when I wanted to grow my business,” she said.  

Since then, Kaiser has grown Kaiser Consulting to a successful, thriving business that was named a 2022 Best Place to Work in Central Ohio. She wants to create opportunities for other women in Ohio to build their businesses without some of the barriers she faced.  

“We know that women and men should have equal access to capital,” she said. “But the reality is that even though women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of average in the nation, they only receive 16% of all the conventional business loans.”  

Her business acumen and dedication to helping women were noticed by the team at Fortuna Bank, a group proposing to build a bank in Ohio to serve the community and offer financial literacy and entrepreneurship for women. They reached out to Kaiser to see if she’d be interested in getting involved.  

“Fortuna wants to be the best bank in our community with a specific focus on lifting women up and helping them with their financial success,” Kaiser said. “We are going to be a community bank and bank for everybody. But we're going to be focused on providing resources to women, such as access to capital, partnership, mentoring and training.” 

Fortuna would be the first women-owned bank in Ohio, as only 13 in the U.S. are women-owned institutions and none are currently in Ohio, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. 

Kaiser now sits on Fortuna’s board of directors and has compared this process of opening the bank to her early days of starting Kaiser Consulting. There are some things she understands well and others she’s learning along the way.   

Fortuna recently received regulatory approval and started raising funds in August. Their goal is to raise between 20 and 25 million dollars and open the bank, located in Grandview Heights, in the fourth quarter of this year.   

Kaiser said another goal of the bank is to help women understand the possibilities that exist for their businesses.  

“There's a difference between creating a job for yourself and growing a business,” she said. “And if women want to take that leap to grow a business, that's where the bank can help them understand the resources available to help take risks and grow.”  

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