Malvern Federal Savings at Forefront of Women in Banking Revolution


Sally Lawson serves as Malvern Savings' senior investment adviser and work's out of the bank's Villanova office.
Sally Lawson serves as Malvern Federal Savings Bank’s senior investment adviser and works out of the bank’s Villanova office.

Banking and finance is one of several industries across the economic landscape whose cultures are rooted in traditions of the past.

Which is why women who work in this field primarily gravitate toward the retail side, as opposed to the lending side.

The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Bankers Association said that only 37 percent of all commercial lenders in its database are women, while 66 percent of retail professionals are women.

Malvern Federal Savings Bank, for one, is at the forefront of balancing those numbers out.

Not only does the bank have two women – Terri Woodman and Cindy Leitzell – on its board, it has many women occupying senior leadership roles. Karen Walter is the Chief Operating Officer, and Stacy Valent serves as Chief Credit Officer.

Terry Woodman (l) is Vice Chairman of Malvern Federal Saving Bank's Board, Cindy Leitzell (r) serves on the same board.
Terry Woodman (l) is Vice Chairman of Malvern Federal Savings Bank’s Board; Cindy Leitzell (r) serves on the same board.

Also, Malvern Federal Savings Bank’s private clients are now advised by Sally Lawson, a superstar in investment and money management who has more than 30 years of experience under her belt. She joined Malvern last year.

“Our focus is not only fostering diversity among our client base but also our workforce,” said CEO Anthony Weagley. “Our women provide a healthy balance and a key perspective on what is an important broader market.”

Stacy Valent, Malvern Saving's Chief Credit Officer.
Stacy Valent, Malvern Federal Savings Bank’s Chief Credit Officer.

Through its most recent seminar, Malvern Federal Savings Bank has proven that, beyond helping its women thrive within the industry, it aims to help all women achieve a secure future.

Last month, at a gathering inside the historic Merion Cricket Club and hosted by the bank, Kara Kessinger, a CPA and Private Client Tax Leader at CliftonLarsonAllen in Plymouth Meeting, led a conversation on “How Women Differ from Men, Financially Speaking.”

Socially, the differences between men and women have been well documented, but not so much from a financial standpoint, even though the differences are stark.

When it comes to financial planning and thinking about one’s future, women tend to think a little differently than men.

Guests at last month’s Malvern Federal Savings Bank’s “Women & Wealth” event at the Merion Cricket Club featuring Kara Kessinger received a gift from Tiffany’s.

“It’s about making sure those differences work for you and not against you,” said Kessinger.

According to Kessinger, women invest more conservatively, live longer lives, and earn less money than their male counterparts. They’re also more likely to live in poverty than men.

“So the need for women to be the more astute when it comes to financial planning is much greater,” she said, especially since women are most likely to become executors of estate. “There’s a real lack of awareness of how a good financial plan works.”

The next “Women & Wealth” conversation will be held in November at the Radnor Hunt Club. Robin Bond, a renowned legal commentator and author, will be speaking. Each guest in attendance receives a special gift from Tiffany’s.

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