SALT LAKE CITY – Mountain America Credit Union is ready to take a closer look at women with its newly unveiled Women’s Financial Services Network (WFSN). According to MACU Chief Information Officer and WFSN Senior Vice President Annette Zimmerman, forming the new service “was a matter of research, networking and basic mathematics” – given that women own the majority of businesses here. “We started doing the research on this in mid-2004 when the head of our CUSO Don Clark asked if I’d be interested in heading up a group serving the niche market of women,” said Zimmerman. “I have to admit at first I was a bit hesitant since I’d never really participated in a women’s group and wasn’t sure what to expect -would it be a lot of `male bashing’? What I discovered was that these groups really just focus on helping people improve and enrich their lives and businesses.” Zimmerman says over the course of eight months she began to get involved from participating as a board member at University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and helping to develop the Business Woman’s Roundtable, to joining a few local Chambers and getting involved with the YWCA. With the YWCA Zimmerman tapped talent from MACU’s training department to serve as a CU liaison and teach classes to women living there on everything from saving for college to how to become financially independent. From the research and information gathered Zimmerman then formed a steering committee comprised of representatives from several areas of the credit union including: branches, branch administration, deposit operations, information systems, member business development, mortgage services, Mountain America Financial Services, risk management, sales/marketing and training/development. “It is amazing how excited the people here are about this network. We’re getting calls from so many employees asking to be a part of this and I think that because there is input from other parts of the organization in the steering committee we’re able to develop a whole comprehensive assortment of services,” said Zimmerman. While the steering committee is in constant communication via e-mail, Zimmerman says they try to meet as a group every two to three months “to set goals and touch base.” Looking ahead to next year, subcommittees with each steering committee member serving as co-chair, have also been formed to conduct research and submit event and budget proposals for 2006. With an eye on fostering “trusted relationships and enhancing women’s financial education and well-being”, WFSN is designed to appeal to all women – not just entrepreneurs. “The Network also appeals to family and household managers, young adults just graduating form high school or college and professionals in the corporate world – we really are focusing on developing relationships,” said Zimmerman. “What we’ve done is identify four target segments, then look at the life events in each segment and list what products and services could be needed in each life event. The good news is that we found that we already offer all the products and services identified for each segment we just needed to package it accordingly for women.” The soft rollout of the newly repackaged target services is slated for Nov. 1 and will initially consist of statement stuffers and press releases to local newspapers and media. In addition to products and services, WFSN provides educational seminars and presentations at various women’s groups, sponsors local women’s events and has already awarded four scholarships to female undergraduates at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. WFSN is also a major sponsor of this year’s Utah’s Women’s Expo in November. [email protected]

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