Network News: May 2020

Every month, the Financial Alliance for Women publishes a roundup of the latest updates from network partners and members. Take a look at what’s new below:


TD Bank

  1. Podcast: The Brand is Female, explaining the measures available to entrepreneurs to help them get through the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
  2. Webinar: Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec (Quebec Busines Women Network). Titled “Head-to-Head With My Banker,” this webinar covered what to expect from your banker.
  3. Webinar: Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. With the theme “The 4-1-1 on COVID Funding,” bankers and lenders answered all questions pertaining to financing opportunities during the pandemic.
  4. Webinar: Ecole Entrepreneur de Quebec (EEQ), helping to demistify available solutions for navigating COVID-19 for business owners.  
  5. Webinar: WBE Canada, covering government funding during COVID-19 and discussed opportunities and strategies for women-owned businesses.



Mastercard is committed to building a world that works better for women and creates limitless possibilities for everyone. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.

At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system.  It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries. For example, in Kenya, Mastercard partnered with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store), a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), another Alliance member, which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend formal credit for stock purchases.

Reaching the one billion goal will require a broad range of efforts, including ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private-sector workers, partnerships with mobile network operators, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms, wallets and apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable, and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programs. Read more here

Catch Mastercard in our “Business in Times of Crisis” Ask the Expert on May 28 at 9AM EDT (1PM GMT). Register here.


G&T Continental

G&T research with female business leaders found that they highly value having a financial coach to guide them to make smarter financial decisions for the growth and sustainability of their businesses. Based on this finding and with the support of the HR department and Commercial Management team, the bank developed training for its sales reps mixing business content with soft skills such as emotional intelligence, people skills, developing empathy, and active listening to reinforce the sales strengths of the team.

The bank is also working, with support from the InterAmerican Development Bank and the Alliance, on integrating gender intelligence to salesforce training including the different ways in which male and female clients listen, communicate, solve problems and make purchasing decisions. The bank acknowledges that the Financial Alliance for Women’s mentorship program has provided excellent guidance on this.  The revised training program, which the bank sees as the foundation for a successful women’s program, will be launched first week of June.



In an effort to support SMEs in navigating COVID-19 challenges, TEB launched the following services:

  1. A Credit Guarantee Fund (CGF)
  2. Deferral of due dates of loan installments and business card payments by up to three months


Santander Argentina

  1. To promote entrepreneurship during COVID-19, the bank carried out a second #WomenEnVivo campaign. Watch video here.
  2. To give female entrepreneurs more exposure, the bank broadcasted videos of their businesses on their digital channels and held product raffles.
  3. To greater support financial inclusion, the bank launched on its website a campaign promoting the “bancarization” of domestic staff with digital account registration.



Zanaco is offering financial relief packages to customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re available to its personal, business banking and corporate customers who have existing loan facilities with the bank. Relief options include the extension of loan tenures, refinancing of loans and loan repayment holidays in line with the bank’s credit parameters and customer needs.

Zanaco is also providing support for the health and wellbeing of its staff through individual and group therapy sessions, as well as sharing daily communication on self help and personal care. Furthermore, staff are also being encouraged to have regular virtual team-building sessions to talk about non-work related issues as a way of maintaining momentum and encouraging the spirit of working together despite being isolated.


Banco Nacional

  1. Together At Dawn is a new line of financing for working capital to reactivate the economy. The amount available is ¢300 billion with favorable loan conditions, including a grace period of up to 12 months for the payment of the principal and up to 6 months for the payment of interest. The term for the private sector may be 5 years.
  2. New features to its mobile app including favorite accounts, opening scheduled savings, online chat, change of card payment date, opening of a second account, opening of investment funds, and tutorials.
  3. I Send You a Song is a support campaign carried out by national artists to promote donations for the artists’ union, to support artists affected by the quarantine.
  4. Live broadcasts on Facebook aimed at SMEs on the SME Nauta platform on how to face the time of crisis, open to the general public.
  5. Support for families in the fishing sector in collaboration with the National Advisory Council for Social Responsibility. This campaign collects food and money to support more than 5,000 families affected by the crisis.


BRAC Bank Limited

  1. The bank held two exclusive webinars for the female audience through TARA’s Facebook platform. During “Women in SME: Overcoming Crisis During COVID-19,” experts from diverse sectors discussed how banks and other institutions are taking
    steps to support women-owned SMEs and highlighted strategies to confront the crisis. The second webinar, “Parenting in COVID-19 Days,” speakers specializing in children’s health and wellbeing shared their advice and best practices for parenting during quarantine.
  2. On Mother’s Day, TARA featured four of its customers who shared their journey of motherhood and how they’re coping with the pandemic in its newsletter.
  3. On the financing front, the bank waived its penalty fee for monthly savings schemes during the lockdown period and offered an installment deferment option of four months to allow customers enough time to settle payments.
  4. All TARA customers are now eligible for cash back on all online grocery purchases to ensure customer safety.
  5. The bank conducted a rapid survey to identify the most affected businesses and sectors to plan the appropriate support measures. An immediate action is offering an exclusive for its SME customers whose shops are closed to sell their products on e-commerce platform Daraz Seller Moitri at 0-percent commission.



FCMB’s SheVentures, in collaboration with IFC, hosted a webinar for women-owned SMEs on “Adjusting Your Business Plan During Crisis.” The session included practical steps to help them through the crisis such as:

  1. Analyzing the current situation of your business
  2. Identifying market opportunities and adjusting business plans to new market realities
  3. How to answer lenders’ questions when seeking finance or re-negotiating existing loans

More than 1,000 people attended the webinar.

From May 13–15, SheVentures held a three-day intensive entrepreneurship workshop for 40 women selected to enjoy a Zero-Interest Loan. The loan is a unique proposition for a limited number of female entrepreneurs operating a small-scale business and in need of quick working capital loan to meet urgent needs. The training focused on enhancing women’s knowledge and skills to better structure their business and ensure that the no-interest loan is put to good use and repaid accordingly.


Great Wall West China Bank

Caiquan, Deyang Subbranch Bank of Great Wall West China Bank, became a “female friendly bank” in 2019.In the past year, the bank built and promoted the brand through many activities, including:

  1. International Women’s Day: On March 7, the bank celebrated in a famous department store square with the local community, carrying out fun garden activities, various financial publicity activities and convenience services.
  2. In September, seven female VIP customers who celebrate their birthdays that month, were invited to acultural and creative park to participate in the production of soap and celebrate their birthday with female guests. This activity was praised by and improved the experience of women VIP customers.
  3. In October, the bank invited several female VIP customers who are interested in value-added services, wealth planning and insurance, to a workshop with the theme “VIP value-added services and asset allocation.” This event gave the participants a new understanding of asset allocation and improved their awareness of the bank’s products.
  4. The bank hosted a lecture on thyroid health, for which doctors from West China Hospital were invited to explain how to effectively treat and prevent thyroid disease.
  5. The bank held a summer parent-child activity themed, “Future banker, I am in charge today.” Children, accompanied by their parents, visited the business hall and discovered the business support services of the bank, experienced the functions of various self-service equipment, and participated in a financial education workshop.
  6. On March 21, 2019 Deyang Women’s Federation of entrepreneurs and Deyang Women Entrepreneurs Association held their annual conference during which the bank had the opportunity to meet with local female entrepreneurs to understand the financial needs of their enterprises and talk about the bank’sdeposit and loan products in detail.

On March 7th, at the 2019 IWD commemoration conference organized by Deyang Women’s Federation, the bank won the title of “Deyang Female Excellent Organization” due to its outstanding contribution to female empowerment. 


City Alo

City Alo is taking efforts to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses through conducting knowledge sharing sessions. Recently, the bank hosted two webinars:

The first webinar, titled “Getting Back to Business,” focused on the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs during this lockdown period and how they may overcome the current situation caused by the pandemic. The webinar can be viewed here

The other webinar, titled “Embracing the Disruption: Education during COVID-19” featured faculty from renowned universities and schools. The webinar focused on how the education sector has been affected by COVID-19. The webinar can be viewed here.  

An upcoming webinar is called, “SME’s and Start-Ups: Digital Transformation and the Way Forward.”

Further efforts include collaborating with hospitals where card members can get online medical consultations from renowned consultants. Also, the bank’s management team has decided to offer telemedicine service on COVID-19 or any other symptoms related to COVID-19 for all bank’s employees free of charge. In addition, City Alo has been active on social media to offer information on proper safety measures and hygiene practices.

For post COVID-19, the bank has begun a special three-month month EMI deferment for conventional retail and SME loans for customers who are facing difficulty. Besides that, as per the Central Bank Circular, customers will not be classified if they’re unable to pay EMI up to June 2020.


Stanbic Bank Zambia

The bank launched a new online conversation series aired weekly to all female customers on social media with different speakers covering topics related to finance and implications of COVID-19.

In an effort to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses (especially those owned by women) the bank is:

  1. Offering moratoriums on interest and/or capital on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Working on getting refinancing under the Central Bank stimulus package in Zambia, which may reduce the interest rate for women.
  3. Creating rescue plans for post-COVID-19 for (W)SMEs and individuals.



CDC chaired a special meeting of the Gender Finance Collaborative, a group of 15 DFIs and MDBs that work collaboratively to advance gender-smart investing. The all-member meeting was held to discuss collective solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a specialist advisor’s presentation on the gendered impacts of COVID-19, as well as a member-led discussion on collaborative solutions that would support investees in rapid response and longer-term recovery.


We thank all our members and partners for sharing their news with us so that we can all learn and get inspired. We invite you all to keep sending us updates about your response to COVID-19 and other timely topics and to attend our weekly “Ask The Expert: Business in Times of Crisis” webinars. Click here to register and see full details of upcoming and past sessions.