Letter from Inez: March 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Inez MurrayFour years ago, when I first came onboard at the Alliance, we developed the GBA globe logo that you’ve come to know us by. The branding communicated the message that we are a strong, global network working to improve women’s economic standing in countries around the world. Today, we are very excited to unveil a new logo that maintains the heritage of the GBA globe by projecting these same messages of impact and inclusiveness, but does so in a less literal, more elegant way. This sleek new logo uses four complementary colors to represent the four cardinal points on a compass, and thus the four corners of the world. The way the colors complement one another and join together in a circle is also a nice visual metaphor for the knowledge sharing our members do and the virtuous cycle that comes of this work to economically empower women. We feel the modern, clean design is a strong representation of the GBA in 2017, and we hope you agree.

This month, to mark International Women’s Day, we published “The Economics of Banking on Women,” our first report highlighting the aggregate performance of GBA members. The results resonated well with the audience gathered for the annual US Chamber of Commerce event held during the 61st Commission on the Status of Women meetings at the United Nations in New York. This year’s focus was on “Measuring Success, Making It Count: Business Investing in Women and Girls” and GBA’s supply side data is an important contribution to closing the gender data gap.

GBA’s demand side data was showcased during a webinar jointly hosted with our strategic partner, the SME Finance Forum, entitled Gender Intelligent Banking. Using the findings from our recent “The Paradox of Gender-Neutral Banking” report, common mistakes made by financial services companies because of their gender-neutral strategies were highlighted, and the argument for the advantages of a gender-intelligent approach was compellingly made. Bank case studies were explained by the head of IFC’s Banking on Women technical advisory team, followed by a lively question and answer session. The webinar clocked the highest registration ever for a webinar given by either the GBA or the SME Finance Forum.

This month we thought we’d share an example of gender-intelligent banking from GBA member NatWest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. NatWest is presenting a series of podcasts, with episodes focusing on the challenges and high points of the entrepreneur’s experience in business. This Power of Women in Business series is hosted by June Sarpong, a well-known media personality in the U.K., but it’s the customers who are the real stars. The series has been given a five-star rating on iTunes and is just one example of the strategy NatWest is employing to support women business owners. The bank is also hosting our 2017 Summit in London November 14-16. Please mark your calendars.

Sharing our know-how with prospective GBA members brought us to Armenia this month for an International Women’s Day event that marked the success of EBRD’s work with three Armenian banks targeting women-owned SMEs. The initiative is part of EBRD’s 16 country and growing program to support banks to target Women In Business. This month also took us to Mexico, where we were invited to the launch of the new initiative of Nacional Financiera (NAFIN), the Mexican development finance bank, Alianza Contigoto, which supports women entrepreneurs with access to finance, capacity building, mentoring and other services. While in Mexico, we were delighted to share best practices and experiences with seven of the largest banks in the country. We were joined by GBA members Itaú Unibanco and Banco BHD León, who generously shared their rationale and strategy for their Women’s Market programs. The number of banks attending was impressive, as was the fact that a national development finance bank is playing an instrumental role in market development. We hope to see several of our Mexican colleagues our upcoming All-Stars Academy in the Dominican Republic in May.

All of the above would not be possible without the continued generosity of our members in sharing their knowledge so that others will take on this market. Like our new logo represents, our virtuous cycle deepens and grows.

Thank you,

Inez Murray Newsletter Signature