Best Practices in Sex-disaggregated Data in the Financial System: The Case of Chile

Friday 13th February 2015

GBA Newsletter

Best Practices in Sex-disaggregated Data in the Financial System: The Case of ChileIn 2002 the Superintendencia de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras de Chile (SBIF) began to compile and analyze sex-disaggregated data on the country’s financial system. Their report: “Gender in the Financial System,” aggregates quarterly sex-disaggregated data and integrates internal diversity statistics from a Gender Banking Survey, resulting in a compelling decade-long trend analysis of how well banks are doing with women in Chile.

This initiative arose from a government-led initiative that prioritized gender data as an important input for both policymakers and bankers. The SBIF was able to implement these requirements because there is a National ID number associated with each financial product sold in Chile. The SBIF cross checks the data by National ID number to identify individual owners, ensuring that no individual is counted more than once if they have multiple products from one or more banks. In this way, the data is an accurate assessment of financial inclusion in the country.

GBA interviewed the SBIF to understand how easy or difficult it is for banks to comply with this level of reporting. Nancy Silva, Claudia Alarcon and Carolina Flores from the SBIF’s Research unit shared that it was not difficult given their ability to sift through the data and extract the sex of the account holder themselves. As a result, none of the banks had to make any adjustments to their systems. The team is now looking to expand their use and analysis of the data by cutting it by income level, payment behavior and leverage, as well as projecting trends into the future.

There are a number of interesting insights that can be observed from the latest annual report, which illustrates some of the differences in the financial behaviors of women and men in Chile:

  • Women’s access to finance has steadily increased each of the last 10 years (from 36 percent of total borrowers in 2002 to 45 percent in 2013).
  • Women tend to borrow less (women’s average debt is 64 percent to 71 percent less than men’s average debt).
  • Women borrow and save for different purposes: Women tend to borrow more for housing (59 percent of women’s debt is mortgages vs. 54 percent of men’s), and less for business purposes (14 percent of women’s debt versus 17 percent of men’s).
  • While women’s savings balances are on average lower than men’s, two products tend to exhibit higher balances for women: term deposit accounts and savings accounts for house acquisition.
  • No gender gap currently exists in terms of number of savings accounts by gender, due to a higher annual growth in women’s use of savings products in the last decade (3.6 percent average annual growth rate versus 1.1 percent annual growth for men).
  • The gap in usage of cash flow management products, such as checking accounts or sight deposits, between men and women has decreased significantly in the last 10 years (from 12 percent to 3 percent). However, there are still significant differences in the balances of accounts (only 32 percent of total balances of cash flow management products are women’s).
  • Finally, women consistently registered lower Portfolio-At-Risk (PAR) levels as well as lower rates of returned checks in all years.

The work led by the SBIF presents one of the most comprehensive aggregate views of women’s behavior in a particular financial system. Tracking system-wide sex-disaggregated data not only provides access and usage data to banks, complementing their own market intelligence efforts, but is also an important input for policymakers. Expanding this type of supply-side data collection could also eventually lead to global aggregates that provide a fuller picture of the female economy and allow for country-wide comparisons to be made. GBA’s partnership with Data 2X is at the forefront of these efforts.