Day 2 Recap: Connecting with the Customer

Wednesday 14th November 2018


GBA Chair Tania Moussallem opened Day 2 of the 2018 Summit, recapping key themes observed from the Policy Forum and setting up a highly interactive 2030 Customer Journey Design session led by McKinsey & Company Associate Design Director Allison Rowe. Participants were assigned profiles of customers with distinct needs they might encounter in the year 2030 and were asked to solve for these needs, taking into account all the future technologies that will be readily available – including robo advisories and AI, big data, blockchain, and fintech products and services. Attendees then used their ideas to design customer value propositions of the future and tested them via customer role plays, getting feedback in real time. The CVPs were refined, with attendees pitching their ideas to the entire room. Truly holistic apps, digital networking platforms, helpful holograms and drone banking services were among the innovative ideas presented.

This led into a lively panel discussion on how to maintain the right mix of technology and touch in an increasingly digitalized world. McKinsey & Company Partner Munya Muvezwa facilitated the session, sharing how banks are maintaining their personalities and brands by personalizing customer conversations based on specific life needs. They are also leveraging new channels to stay connected with customers at every step. Panelists Kate Holloway of Westpac in Australia, Daniel Gutierrez of Banco BHD León in the Dominican Republic, Henk Mulder of Zanaco in Zambia and Beatrice Lugalambi of Centenary Bank in Uganda then delivered examples of how they are operating in this space. All discussed their mobile and digital platforms, which have proved highly relevant for women in each market. Kate emphasized the critical need for a human touch in life moments such as separation from a partner, birth of a child or loss of a job. This sentiment was echoed by other panelists, who are using a range of solutions to maintain personalization – from customer-centric staff training to agency models where the bank comes to the customer.

Mastercard Vice President of Global Consumer Credit Jean Marie Healy busted central myths about women’s usage of payments, including the notions that women don’t like to use credit cards, are risk averse, are less responsible for household finances and are less confident about money. This led into a session that explored payments beyond “pink cards,” wherein Jean Marie introduced the new GBA-Mastercard partnership, Women by Design, which enables GBA members to add value for women through payments by leveraging Mastercard’s global presence, customer insights and bargaining power. A collaborative workshop followed, with four Mastercard representatives conducting working groups on four segments of women: affluent consumers, unbanked micro entrepreneurs, small business owners and new-to-credit Millennials.

In the first of two parallel sessions, panelists discussed the basics of Islamic finance and how it might be a valuable proposition for women. Bilal Rabah Al Sugheyer of the Financial Institutions Group at IFC gave an overview of Islamic finance and Islamic banking, noting that an important tenet is that money doesn’t have value in itself; it can only be used for exchange. He then described instruments that banks can use to build such products. Panelists Deema Aqel, a Board Member of Safwa Bank, and Danysh Hashmi, General Manager – Retail Product Group at HBL Pakistan, agreed that the market is growing exponentially, and it holds great potential in relevant regions. They discussed how women are interested in ethical products that have well-explained, fair risk and serve their needs in terms of health, education and family safety – and noted that Islamic finance can fit into this neatly.

Andrew McCartney of the IFC led an afternoon discussion on massifying support to women using non-financial services, where Head of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women Cristina Shapiro shared how far the program has come in the 10 years since its launch, having deployed US$1 billion in capital to women entrepreneurs so far. Raya Sbitany, Chief Business Development and Financial Inclusion Officer at Bank of Palestine, shared their Mini MBA program, which has been highly successful – with women who complete it increasing their staff levels by 28 percent and 50 percent obtaining bank financing. Both programs have recently been taken online as well, and both speakers noted that they have seen higher completion rates when an in-person component is involved; having the human element seems to create a sense of accountability. Kursat Sanli, SME Banking Marketing and Business Development Director at TEB, then shared his bank’s suite of future-forward non-financial services for women, including a highly popular informational video channel for women in business.

A second parallel session explored whether gender-smart investment products are the answer to mobilizing more capital for women. A range of research shows that people increasingly want investment instruments that align with their values, making this an area filled with potential. Panel moderator Olga Miler noted that mainstreaming this field could lead to behavioral changes among investors. Kathryn C. Kaufman, Managing Director for Global Women’s Initiatives at OPIC, agreed, sharing their 2X initiative to mobilize $1 billion in capital to invest in the world’s women, change mindsets and unlock the multi-trillion dollar investment opportunity women represent. K. Shelly Porges, Founder and Managing Partner of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, shared the organization’s similar goal of mobilizing US$1 billion to invest in women-founded companies, having already secured US$460 million. IFC Global Head of Banking on Women Jessica Schnabel shared the latest on the organization’s groundbreaking gender bond with Turkish bank Garanti, which has been launched in capital markets in the country.

The sessions concluded with an enlightening panel on creating advertising campaigns that truly speak to women. Gender stereotypes in advertising are a problem for both men and women, and there is a clear impact on the bottom line when organizations actively un-stereotype their ads. Ziad Fariz, Jordan Representative at UN Women, shared research from the Unstereotype Alliance showing that 64 percent of consumer spending is controlled by women, and brands that deliver progressive messages – including those that present women in an “un-stereotyped” way – have extremely positive responses to their ads and returns. Head of Brand Management at BLC Bank Karyl Akilian shared several inspiring campaigns from the bank that are actively combatting stereotypes about women in Lebanon. Apart from having strong results for the bank’s Women’s Market program, these campaigns have actually begun to lead to some cultural shifts in the country. Raya Sbitany, Chief Business Development and Financial Inclusion Officer at Bank of Palestine, discussed a similar experience of seeing the beginnings of a culture shift from the bank’s work to change the Arabic language to be more inclusive of women. In Arabic, most job titles are only expressed in the masculine form – the only job titles that are feminine are those for roles that are traditionally considered “feminine.” The bank worked with an Arabic language institute in Cairo, which formally approved their changing the titles for women at their own institution to a feminine form. Bank of Palestine is now lobbying for this to be done across the entire language, and they have seen extremely strong results from their marketing campaign associated with this – from both women and men. Virgínia Gonçalves, Sustainability Coordinator at Itaú Unibanco, the biggest brand in Brazil, shared some examples of their process for creating un-stereotyped campaigns – as well as some missteps they have had. The lessons from their experiences were that consistency, diversity and testing are all critical elements of successful advertising. Finally, Danysh Hashmi, General Manager – Retail Product Group at HBL Pakistan, shared how they make sure that they include both women and men in their ads, regardless of the product, with women represented in many primary roles in the campaigns. They also seek to create role models for women in Pakistan by highlighting the experiences of outstanding Pakistani women who the bank supports.

The day concluded with the annual GBA Women’s Market Champion Awards ceremony and Gala Dinner, where the 2018 award winners were honored. You can learn more about the awards here.