They may be the financial decision-makers in the family, but women have very little knowledge on financial products and services, according to a new study by The Provident Bank.


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The Provident Bank Women and Banking Study revealed that only two in five women set annual savings goals for themselves, and many women feel that banks don't understand their needs.

"Women are very community- oriented and when they want to learn about something, they do so through their friends or through other women. Women also are more inclined to turn to Facebook and LinkedIn for recommendations and advice, rather than through a financial ad or through a bank," said Diana Braga, public relations and corporate donations manager at The Provident Bank.

When asked what was their idea of a "great banking experience," among the top responses were: "options for the way I want to bank" and "care about me - don't just say it, show it."  When asked what upset them the most about their banking experience, 12 percent said worrying about overdraft fees and 11 percent said belonging to a bank that doesn't care about its customers.

The survey also asked what banks should do to attract women. Fifteen percent said understanding women's financial needs was most important, and 9 percent said treating them like an individual.

Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said they most often use online banking to manage their finances, compared to 27 percent that use a branch, 14 percent that use an ATM or 8 percent that use a mobile device.

To address the needs of women, many banks are changing the way they are reaching out to women. In fact, Provident has launched a new online community for women, www.Provident4Women.com, which is designed to help women become financially educated while keeping them emotionally engaged.

"The goal of Provident4Women is to connect with and engage women by starting conversations that are relevant to their lives and meet the needs they identified in the survey," Braga said. "We've had a very positive reaction so far and the community continues to grow."