On the Hot Seat: Investors in Lynn Tilton's private-equity funds sued her this week, seeking damages for $45 million in losses on loans allegedly misreported as performing. The Securities and Exchange Commission made a similar accusation against her firm, Patriarch Partners, in July. Tilton has denied the claims. German financial institution Norddeutsche Landesbank purchased $135 million of securities issued by Patriarch. Tilton and Patriarch could be found liable for misrepresentation of the health of investments — whether intentional or negligent. Tilton spent 19 years on Wall Street, first as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and then as a specialist trading distressed company loans.

Maneuvering Around an Uneven Field: Male bias in the financial services workplace is real, but women can take steps at a personal level to minimize its impact on their careers, writes Kristina Williams, the chief operating officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. She offers three pearls of wisdom on BankThink to help female bankers cultivate their own success and opportunities: life isn't always fair, men and women behave differently, and empathy and perspective are traits that benefit everyone. Individual success and self-improvement will contribute to the broader struggle against prejudice, she argues.

Woman on a Mission: American Banker will give Lori Chillingworth its community-impact award Thursday evening. As executive vice president of small-business lending at the $19 billion-asset Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City, she and bank Chief Executive Scott Anderson recently launched the Women's Leadership Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Utah women financially and professionally to take on more prominent roles in politics and business. "We need women running companies, sitting on boards and having a voice in the political environment so that the things that matter to women and families and communities are being heard," she said. The institute is the latest of her several efforts to foster the careers of women and minorities.

Just a Database: Digital Asset Holdings CEO Blythe Masters urged attendees of the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit this week to keep an open mind about important aspects of Bitcoin, including blockchain technology. Her message is not new — others have said the same thing — but Masters is an ex-JPMorgan Chase executive who commands attention. "At its simplest level, a blockchain is nothing much more than a fancy kind of database," she said.

Role Call

Former Ally Bank chief Barbara Yastine has been hired as co-chief executive of Lebenthal Holdings, the family-owned wealth management firm run by Alexandra Lebenthal.

Boston Private Financial Holdings has appointed a Silicon Valley executive to its board. Kimberly Stevenson is chief information officer at Intel and has worked for HP Enterprise Services and IBM.

Beyond Banking

Red Flags in Student Lending: Tech companies need to take an assertive role in student-loan reform, Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said this week at the Vanity Fair Summit, calling it a pressing economic issue that resembles the housing crisis. (She advised the Treasury Department on restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after the crash while at Morgan Stanley.) "Student lending has too many similarities to [the housing crash]," she said. Porat also criticized the industry's lack of diversity and its need for good succession planning. "When you come in to say who's next, you better make sure there's a woman or minority," she said.

Payments Player: Starbucks has hired Gerri Martin-Flickinger to be its first chief technology officer. The tech veteran was previously Adobe's chief information officer and joins Starbucks as mobile payments become increasingly prominent at the java chain. Starbucks came out of the gate running with its mobile-payments and rewards options for customers, outpacing even the most prominent payments companies. It continues to add users, but other payments companies are beginning to catch up. Martin-Flickinger previously worked at VeriSign, McAfee Associates and other corporations.