Letter from Inez: July/August 2015

Thursday 20th August 2015

Inez-MurrayAs we approach our Annual Summit, which kicks off on September 29, I am proud to share that we will be marking the successful launch of Women’s Market programs in no less than 10 banks in the past year. Our increasing traction is due to the pioneering efforts not only of each of the banks concerned, but the GBA members who have supported them through hosting Study Tours, providing Mentors, sharing key metrics through our Women’s Market Analytics platform and working to create a genuine alliance to promote Best Practices globally.

July saw evidence of this, with Westpac hosting its second Study Tour this year, attended by 13 financial institutions and 3 IFIs; Chase Bank Kenya participating in a high-level panel on female entrepreneurship during President Barack Obama’s visit to Nairobi, Kenya; and Steven Puig, CEO of Banco BHD León, generously spending time with the team at Banco Nacional de Costa Rica and sharing what his bank has learned during these past 12 months of program design and implementation.

Today we are proud to publish our second in a series of Case Studies detailing the Best Practices of our banks. This report is on BLC Bank of Lebanon, which is quick to acknowledge the support of both Westpac and the IFC in the early days of their program. BLC Bank’s efforts have firmly placed them at the forefront of financial services for women — not just in Lebanon, but in the MENA region more generally.

As we seek to move from individual centers of excellence to widespread adoption of Women’s Market Best Practices by the financial services sector, we must continue to share our insights on the Women’s Market as well as to make the business case ever clearer.

On the former, we are aggregating the demand research conducted by our members for presentation at the Summit, and on the latter, we are leading a piece of research that explores the challenges and opportunities of producing sex-disaggregated supply-side financial data. This will not only further prove the business case, but will also track our progress in closing the financial inclusion gap for women. We are excited to be leveraging this work by collaborating with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, an association of policymakers from 89 member countries charged with developing financial sectors that work for the majority. At their upcoming annual event in Maputo, Mozambique, the GBA will share what our banks do on data, in the hope ofÊinspiringÊAFI membersÊto prioritizeÊtracking sex-disaggregated dataÊto design and improve evidence-based policies thatÊclose the financial inclusion gender gap. The working assumption, as always, is that data drives market development.

Our Summit will kick off with a first-of-its-kind Global Data Symposium, exploring the aforementioned topic, while the bulk of the agenda for the Summit has been designed to deepen the sharing of know-how GBA banks have about working with this market as well as having the opportunity to network and support one another as a community of practitioners.

There are many people who deserve in-person thanks for their successful efforts around the upcoming Summit, but for now I would like to single out Denise Hills and the team at Itaú Unibanco for being such excellent hosts. We all owe them thanks for what promises to be a substantively rich, productive and collegial gathering.

See you in São Paulo.

Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women