Checking in: What’s New with Alliance Members, September 2019

What’s New with Alliance Members

Every month, the Financial Alliance for Women publishes a roundup of the latest updates on members’ Women’s Market programs. Take a look at what’s new below: 


We are proud to announce that member HBL in Pakistan won the Gender Champion Award during the 5th TFP Awards and Partners Dinner, which took place on September 3 in Singapore. The 2019 edition of the Gender Champion Award was open to all Trade Finance Program issuing banks and focused on support for increased employment, retention and progression of women in the workplace. Existing policies and activities were 70 percent of the criteria, with future gender initiatives covering the remaining 30 percent.

Alongside its HBL Nisa program, which enables strong financial experiences for women, HBL has a solid diversity and inclusion strategy that makes it an employer of choice. Today, 18 percent of HBL’s total management workforce is female, with a steady increase since 2014 due to concentrated hiring and retention efforts. They have established an in-house “All-Female Project Internship Program” aimed at increasing the overall employability of women, as well as a comprehensive range of activities to support junior staff, women managers and women in senior roles through their HBL Beacon, Elevate and Falak programs.

They have also undertaken gender intelligence training, which has had measurable impacts on staff behavior and views about gender, and have established a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy.

The Alliance, represented by CEO Inez Murray, was on the Jury Panel of the Gender Champion Award alongside Julia Newton-Howes (CEO, Investing in Women),  Ingrid van Wees (Vice-President for Finance and Risk Management, ADB), Steven Beck (Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance, ADB), and Keiko Nowacka (Gender and Development Specialist, ADB).


Access Bank

In June 2019, Access Bank launched the “Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton 2019” targeting women entrepreneurs above the age of 18 who have been in business for at least one year. The Pitch-a-Ton is a 3-month program that incorporates pitching sessions and 3 weeks of mini-MBA training, conducted in collaboration with the IFC. To graduate, finalists (50 in total) pitch their businesses, leveraging their learnings from the mini-MBA program, with winners awarded financial grants up to N5 million (US$14,000).

Since the launch of their W Initiative program in 2014, Access Bank has trained more than 75,000 businesswomen across Nigeria.


Stanbic Bank Zambia

Stanbic Bank Zambia has launched an innovative service called “village banking” or Chilimba Savings, whereby customers can gather their friends and transact as a group seamlessly through a digital platform. The service is based on a traditional savings method used by women’s “savings groups” in villages and comes with many perks, such as financial literacy and investment classes and no monthly charges. The account is accessible from anywhere in the world and allows groups to view their statements and manage their finances in an efficient and transparent manner.

With the objective of ensuring that no one is financially excluded and making financial services more affordable to individuals and businesses, Stanbic has also partnered with MTN money transfer service to allow customers to make money transfers between their Stanbic accounts and any MTN MoMo account.