Performance or preference?: The former chairman and chief executive of American Metro Bancorp in Chicago has sued the company, claiming gender discrimination led to her getting removed from the CEO job in 2013 and fired in 2014. Yman Vien said in her lawsuit that Raymond Lee, the father of the bank’s majority shareholder, had “a clear preference that women should not be in leadership positions” and convinced the board to replace her. The $63.4 million-asset, minority-owned bank said in its response that it lost millions of dollars while Vien was CEO and that her poor performance as a leader resulted in a 2009 cease-and-desist order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Tangerine dreams: Tangerine Bank CEO Brenda Rideout says it will start offering credit lines this year, as part of a broader effort to boost revenue through expanded product offerings. Half of the digital bank’s customers have more than one product with it, she says, and once the credit lines are available, Tangerine will have all of the products it needs to be their “everyday bank.”
Microlender gets a Google doodle: On Tuesday Google had a doodle celebrating Esther Afua Ocloo, a microlending pioneer from Ghana, on what would be her 98th birthday. Ocloo was a cofounder of Women's World Banking, a global nonprofit that provides small loans, sometimes for as little as $50, to help low-income women launch or grow businesses. "Women must know that the strongest power in the world is economic power," Ocloo said in a speech in 1990. "You cannot go and be begging to your husband for every little thing, but at the moment, that's what the majority of our women do."
Girl support: The Fearless Girl has only been around for a few weeks but she’s made a meaningful impression on different people for different reasons. Erin Duffy, a former Wall Street trader who wrote a book inspired by the experience, said in an essay that the statue is “reassuring a new generation of little girls all over the world that a career on Wall Street is as accessible to them as a career anywhere else, and that they don’t owe anyone an apology or an explanation for wanting to be there.” In sharing some of the obstacles she encountered early on in her career, Duffy recounted how she once tried in vain to get a male colleague to help her understand something. “I was informed that he was probably ignoring me until he was sure that I was there to actually work and not strictly to ‘husband hunt,’” Duffy wrote. She believes the “quiet strength” of the statue would have comforted her had it been around back then.
Girl ridicule: The Fearless Girl also has plenty of critics, who piled on when Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted this picture of herself posing with the statue.
CIT Group’s chief financial officer, Carol Hayles, has resigned from the company to pursue other opportunities. Her successor is John Fawcett, who retired as the CFO of Citizens Financial in Providence, R.I., in 2015. Before Hayles’ departure, CIT had been one of only 13 publicly traded U.S. banking companies with a female CEO-CFO combination.
Umpqua Holdings has hired Rilla Delorier as its first chief strategy officer. Delorier was executive vice president of consumer channels at SunTrust before leaving in February 2016. She has been part of our rankings of the Most Powerful Women in Banking multiple times, most recently in 2015.
Citigroup has named Carmen Haddad head of strategy and business development for Saudi Arabia, with plans to make her the CEO for that country if it can obtain a banking license there. Citi lost its Saudi banking license in 2004 when it sold its stake in Samba Financial Group.
Excuse me: In the U.S. Supreme Court, women do not have an equal opportunity to be heard, according to a new study on the effect of gender, ideology and seniority in oral arguments at the highest court. Researchers examined 15 years of Supreme Court transcripts and found male justices interrupt female justices three times as often as they interrupt each other during oral arguments. As more women joined the court, the men, they found, interrupted the women with increasing frequency, and many of the men now interrupt the women at double-digit rates per term. The reverse almost never happens. In the last 12 years, during which women made up, on average, 24% of the bench, 32% of interruptions were of the female justices, but only 4% were by the female justices.
RIP: Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to serve on New York State’s highest court and the first female Muslim judge in the country, died last week, under suspicious circumstances. She grew up poor in a family of seven children and her great-grandfather was a slave, according to this New York Times profile. “All the way from Arrington, Va., where my family was the property of someone else, to my sitting on the highest court of the State of New York is amazing and huge,” she said in a 2014 interview. “And it tells you and me what it is to know who we are and what we can do.”
Steel moms: The Ironworkers union has 130,000 members, approximately 2,100 of which are women. They recently won a benefit that is unheard of in the building trades — six months of paid maternity leave before the baby is born. The union cited “unique health challenges that can jeopardize a pregnancy” and said paying for the time off would be cheaper than having to replace female ironworkers who often opt to leave the job after they get pregnant.