Investments: An Affirmative Action

As April 15 fast approaches, financial institutions are vying to attract customers for tax-deferred Individual Retirement Accounts. San Francisco's Continental Savings of America (assets: $346 million) last week began offering an IRA with a difference. The S and L is giving women depositors an 11.5% interest rate on new IRAs, but only 11% to men. At the higher rate, a female saver will earn nearly $47,000 more than a male if both contribute the annual individual maximum of $2,000 for 30 years. Says Susan Loughridge, a Continental senior vice president: "It's our theory that women entered the work force later and...

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