Favoring women, for a change: In the U.K., ING gave director roles to more women than men in the latest promotion round as part of a commitment it made last year in its Diversity Manifesto to improve diversity in executive roles. Women account for 10 of the 18 newly named directors in the 2017 cohort.

More Ally McBeals, please: General counsels across the U.S. are pressing outside law firms they work with to make their teams more diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and even disability. Facebook, for example, is now requiring that women and ethnic minorities make up at least 33% of law firm teams it deals with. Morgan Stanley recognizes one of its outside law firms for leadership in diversity and inclusion every year. The bank honors those that appoint many diverse and female attorneys to work with it and have many female and minority lawyers in the firm overall, as well as effective diversity sponsorship programs. “We recognize that it just doesn’t happen on its own,” said Eric Grossman, Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer.

Lonely at the top, still: It’s an eternal truth — in many financial services firms, women outnumber men, but gender equality in senior roles is elusive, according to new leadership data compiled by the Financial Times. A survey of 50 of the largest global financial institutions confirmed the representation of women in the workplace falls as they rise through an organization’s ranks — with women accounting for just one in four of senior leaders. The survey found that some women blame themselves, saying the gap developed partly because men argued harder for their bonuses and were better at self-promotion than women.

A Square deal for women business owners: More than half of those accepting small-business loans from Square’s lending unit, Square Capital, are women, according to recently released company data. Among the 18- to-34-year-old entrepreneur borrowers, 60% are women; the company only found a majority of male borrowers in the 55-and-over age group. The average loan amount is $6,000. Women generally have more difficulty securing small-business loans from banks than men do. According to the National Women's Business Council, women start businesses with half as much capital as men and only 5.5% of the women get bank loans compared with 11.4% of the men.

From hockey player to bank leader: Fairpoint Savings Bank’s 29-year-old vice president and operations manager, Kristen Falk, recently explained how her athletic skills have translated to leadership skills. A long-time field hockey player, Falk has brought that passion into her job. “Being the captain of a field hockey team required me to lead and listen to many people at one time in an effort to help them to do their best,” she said. “Those same operational skills come into play when I am leading bank employees to do their very best.” Her advice for young people starting careers is to be passionate because “if you are passionate, it will be reflected in your work.”

Role call

Wells Fargo has promoted consumer credit executive Titi Cole to head of operations for the company. Cole will report to Avid Modjtabai, head of payments, virtual solutions and innovation.

TIAA has named Renee Brown chief marketing officer of TIAA Retail Financial Services. She will report to Kathie Andrade, chief executive officer of TIAA RFS. Brown was most recently head of community bank marketing at Wells Fargo.

Renee Brown, chief marketing officer of TIAA Retail Financial Services
Renee Brown, chief marketing officer of TIAA Retail Financial Services.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco has hired Lisa Violet as chief risk officer. She was previously vice president of internal audit and business continuity at Hitachi Systems and has 20 years of banking experience at firms like Wells Fargo, Bank of the Orient, Union Bank and Scotiabank.

Banc of California has named two new members to the board of directors: Mary Curran, former corporate banking chief risk officer for MUFG Union Bank, and Bonnie Hill, a previous member of the board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Investor Advisory Group.

Juniata Valley Financial Corp. hired Lynne Ruffner as vice president and northern tier retail sales manager. She was previously director of lending at Discovery Federal Credit Union. It also gave Lisa Snyder, its credit administration manager since 2012, the added title of senior vice president.

In case you missed it

Modern love: A New York Times “Modern Love” piece gives a glimpse into how one woman’s effort to climb the ladder in financial services affected her home life and ultimately ended her marriage. “There’s a funny thing about being a female executive in a male-dominated industry,” she wrote. “You are strong, driven and in control at the office all day, but there’s no magic switch to flip when you arrive home every evening. So I brought that same strong, driven and controlling energy into my marriage.”

Beyond banking

Paula Principle: Unlike men, most women are employed below their level of competence. If you’re unfamiliar with management concept of the Peter Principle, the premise is that employees are promoted until they reach a job at which they prove incompetent. A man named Tom Schuller has tweaked that to create the Paula Principle, in which most women get promoted to a level below their competence. Assuming both principles are accurate, women should be paid more than men because they will be comparatively better qualified for their roles, the Guardian says.

Happy Equal Pay Day: The week before Equal Pay Day, the president rolled back protections for women in the workplace that came as part of the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order. The order aimed to mandate paycheck transparency and ban forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims.

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