While the pandemic is laying bare structural inequalities, it’s also underscoring what has been done to support underserved segments and revealing what still needs to be done to foster greater resilience in our employees, our customers, our communities and our planet.
The work of full financial inclusion has perhaps never been more precedent. The pandemic is highlighting the importance of getting the financial services infrastructure in place so that all people have access to it regardless of gender, income or location.
Alliance members and partners are playing a critical role in these efforts as they’ve reported in our network news roundup. From reducing interest rates, waiving fees, deferring payments and offering additional funding, to ramping up relationship management and virtual non-financial services, and supporting the healthcare community with equipment, members are making great efforts to respond.
And we’ve gone deeper. Each week this month one member has shared their actions during our special Business Response to COVID-19 “Ask the Expert” sessions. Each emanating a sense of purpose—a feeling that while financial services providers are not first responders on the health front, they’re critical lifelines for SMEs and household economies. These sessions are inspirational and practical. Sharing information has never been more important.
We open all “Ask the Expert” sessions to non-members and welcome you to join our next one, addressing domestic violence during the pandemic, on May 7.
The fact that most of us are working from home means that flexible work will become the norm. This will help organizations retain more talent and become more diverse. This month, we invite you to check out our latest report, “Driving Change: Achieving Gender-Balanced Leadership in Financial Services.” Based on the findings from our second working group on gender diversity and inclusion, in collaboration with Alliance knowledge partner Mercer, the report focuses on three main levers for getting to 50:50.
We also extend a very warm welcome to our newest member, Banco Santander, Argentina. We interviewed Silvia Tenazinha, Chief Commercial Banking Manager, and Verónica Climent, Senior Manager of People, Cost, Real Estate and Security, about the bank’s new Santander Women program and the efforts that both Santander Argentina and Santander Global are making to support all women in the country and globally.
And we also welcome our newest partner, SIDA, and thank the team for its support in expanding the number of financial services providers who champion the female economy with the robust value proposition that is a hallmark of the Alliance.
Thank you all.