Letter from Inez: March 2020

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions, and our members are stepping up to support their employees, customers and communities.

From cutting interest rates and deferring payments on loans, credit cards and overdrafts to increasing deposit rates, eliminating fees, and leveraging the full force of government interventions, the business of banking has never been more about keeping businesses going.

We’re seeing huge ramp-ups in virtual support, such as telephone and video appointments and webinars on business survival skills. We’re also seeing banks, regulators and the business sector work together at unprecedented levels. And the Alliance is standing side-by-side with you through it all.

As we navigate these times, we must avoid retrenchment in our support of female customers or employees. We’ve lined up webinars, blogs, newsletters, new research and best practices to support you in championing the female economy throughout the year. Much of this will lead to our flagship Annual Summit, which this year will be virtual and still take place in early Q4.

In response to member demand, we’re running a series of “Ask the Expert” sessions in which members will share their COVID-19 response strategies. And for the first time, we’ll be opening these sessions to non-members. The first session will take place April 9 at 2pm GMT with speakers from the consumer and corporate sides of Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest. For more information on these sessions, click here.

A big piece of resilience is becoming the employer of choice for women, and next month, we’re publishing our first case study dedicated to this topic.  It tells the story of how Westpac achieved 50:50 in the C-Suite. In May, we’ll publish the findings from our second working group on gender diversity and inclusion (D&I), which will focus on three main levers for getting to 50:50. Flexible and remote work is key and with much of the industry practicing this right now, this bodes well for women in the future. Midsummer we’ll publish our “How-To Guide to Becoming the Employer of Choice for Women,” which mirrors our existing “How-To Guide on Winning the Women’s Market,” and is also being written by our members.

Earlier this month we were supposed to be in Paris with 40 or so financial services companies sharing their gender Diversity & Inclusion efforts. The event had to be postponed but we are fortunate to have an interview with Jennifer Baert from Financi’Elles, a network of prominent financial services companies in France promoting gender D&I, who were co-organizing the event along with ourselves, Mercer and Oliver Wyman. Jennifer shares her perspective on why, despite France having the highest female representation in the European Union on Boards (44 percent), just 18 percent of executive committees are female.

And finally, we’d like to give a shout out to the incredible work done to celebrate International Women’s Day, most of which happened before lockdown, in our network news roundup.

We’d also like to extend a very warm welcome to our newest member, Ecobank, operating in 33 African countries. We interview Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive Commercial Banking, who shares the bank’s plans to support female entrepreneurs across Africa. 

These times offers us all an extraordinary opportunity to reengineer business models, double down on our sense of purpose and focus on building our global community.

Thank you all.

In community,

Inez Murray Newsletter Signature