Thursday 30th June 2016
We are very excited to have hosted our first All-Stars Academy this month in The Hague, the Netherlands, sponsored by FMO, the Dutch Development Bank. The intensive training took our DNA of peer learning to a new level, with four experts from member banks with model Women’s Market programs — BLC Bank, Lebanon; Banco BHD León, Dominican Republic; Westpac, Australia; and TEB Bank, Turkey; as well as an expert from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) — acting as teachers and coaches. Representatives from 15 banks and 5 development finance institutions and nonprofits came for three and a half days to learn how to take their Women’s Market programs to the next level.
The Academy was a resounding success, and the enthusiasm of participants was exceeded by nothing but their hard work in forging new strategies for the Women’s Market. The end of the workshop was marked by a competition in which participant banks had to model “pitching” these impressive new strategies to their Boards of Directors. The All-Stars was also an opportunity to bring together the latest know-how from our members. Their fresh input will be used to update knowledge products such as our how-to guide, “Winning the Women’s Market“; our new video series highlighting key topics related to the Women’s Market; and our three upcoming regional All-Stars Academies, to take place in Latin America, Africa and Asia within the next two years.
Ahead of this dynamic gathering, I attended a meeting hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC, during the 2016 Gender Summit, in which GBA regional expansion was top-of-mind. Nine development banks learned from the IDB and the IFC how GBA supports them to achieve their goals of full financial inclusion of women. It was evident to all that there is ample room for more partnerships as we build our footprint worldwide.
The momentum continues with the 2016 GBA Summit, which will take place in Washington, DC, from October 18 – 20, hosted by IFC. I urge all members and financial institutions that are serious about learning to serve the Women’s Market to mark your calendars.
This year we will be going deep into topics that are priorities for Women’s Market program implementation, including how digital solutions can enhance the value proposition for women, how to create self-sustaining networks of customers who develop their own businesses as well as the bank’s, how to build an insurance offering for the Women’s Market, how to fast track Diversity & Inclusion at the bank, and many other topics. For newcomers, we will also host a Master Class at the beginning of the Summit to share best practices from bank veterans so that we will all start the Summit from the same page.
This month we are also proud to announce a partnership with the SME Finance Forum (SMEFF), to advance SMEFF members’ — banks that focus on SMEs and FinTech firms — knowledge of and service to the Women’s Market. In turn, our members will benefit from the latest best practices on supporting SMEs.
Finally, we are delighted to welcome our 11th member bank from Latin America, Banistmo, into the fold. Banistmo is the largest bank in Panama, with a presence in 10 countries throughout the region. In this issue we interview John Rozo, Vice-President of Personal and SME Banking, and ask him why the bank is taking on the Women’s Market.
I cannot end this letter without thanking the Dutch. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has come on board as a sponsor of the GBA and is our first bilateral funder. Their support is an important milestone for the organization. I likewise extend a heartfelt thank-you to FMO, which acted with swiftness, pragmatism and open minds to support us. We can proudly say that we have a strong foundation in Europe.
Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women