Thursday 13th March 2014
Our most recent member in Africa, Chase Bank Kenya, ranks number 15 in the Kenyan market, but as Marianne Nyangi, Head of Chase Woman explains, the bank lives and breaths a segment based strategy, and is poised for significant growth.
GBA: Tell us a little about how you think about segments at Chase Kenya and how Chase Woman fits with your strategic approach.
Marianne Nyangi: Six years ago we decided to target the Asian community as a specific segment and that has really worked well for us. We’ve since sub-divided it into what we call the Tiger communities-Chinese, Korean and Japanese. We also segment Africans into East and West African and we have a European segment to cater to the Dutch, English and Italian communities living in Kenya. We have Chase IMAN, which focuses on Sharia compliant banking. During all of this work, we started noticing that women had different situations and expectations than men and that got us thinking about the Women’s Market.
GBA: How do you embed this segment strategy in your culture?
Marianne Nyangi: We have strong Relationship Managers and strong Product Specialists so we can offer tailored specialized services by segment. We have a young motivated workforce, over 60% of whom are women. Last year we set up a Mentoring Club, where older women are mentoring the younger women coming into the bank, to support work/life balance, career development etc. We are showing the world that we are serious about women and that women are treated equally. We want to be known for being the Bank of Choice for women in Kenya.
GBA: How do you segment the Women’s Market?
Marianne Nyangi: We traditionally focused on High Net Worth women and now are making a big play for women entrepreneurs. We have sub-segmented this further to encompass women groups and young women. We want to reach women at all levels, so they can grow with us.
GBA: How do you categorize an SME as ‘women owned’?
Marianne Nyangi: The business has to be at least 51% owned or 20% managed by a woman or a woman has to be the key decision maker in the company. Our average woman business owner has 10+ employees and a monthly turnover of 500,000 Ksh (US$ 5,763).
GBA: In what ways do you verify that the business is really ‘women-owned’?
Marianne Nyangi: There are a couple of ways. First, at the point of account opening we ask some questions to verify the ownership and management of the business. Then we conduct a site visit to verify that she meets our criteria for women-owned. We didn’t always do the site visit, but started doing so when we realized that some customers were saying the business was women-owned when in fact it was not.
GBA: We know that many banks in East Africa demand property title in order to collateralize a business loan, and that many women do not hold title. How do you bypass this need?
Marianne Nyangi: We do various things. We look at the ‘nature’ of the business, understand how it works, look at her invoices and talk to her suppliers and customers. We look at her account behavior for a three- to six-month period of time. Importantly, we take unconventional collateral. We accept chattel mortgages of business assets; debentures on company assets as well as shares in the Nairobi stock exchange. For small microloans: 50,000 to 200,000 Ksh, (US$575 – US$2,300) women guarantee each other. We look at the guarantor’s identification and evaluate her on the strength of her bank account behavior.
GBA: So you go quite deep into the market, you offer microfinance?
Marianne Nyangi: Yes. One of our goals is to take a woman from being unbanked to being banked. So we offer microloans at preferential rates through a government provided fund (Women Enterprise Fund). It is very popular.
GBA: Beyond loans, what is your Value Proposition to women?
Marianne Nyangi: Chase Woman account holders have access to a wide range of services namely:
GBA: How many women are in Chase Woman right now and what is your vision for growth?
Marianne Nyangi: We have about 2,000 women right now in Chase Woman and a target of 10,000 women by the end of 2014. Our deposit target is 2B Ksh ($23M) and our loan target is 1B Ksh ($11.5M). The bulk of these women will be SME owners.
GBA: Do you think you have some competitive advantage in the market because of this?
Marianne Nyangi: Absolutely, we are the only bank with a specific team dedicated to women and we are good at delivering strong value propositions to specific segments.
GBA: A lot of banks report difficulty in getting sex disaggregated data to prove that their Women’s Market Program is working. What is the data situation for Chase Women?
Marianne Nyangi: We get a monthly P&L statement for Chase Woman and our NPAs. Our data is very accurate and it has helped maintain focus and understand which areas to improve. As we scale up, we will monitor profitably per client and per Relationship Manager, which will enable us to better understand cross-selling opportunities.
GBA: Mobile banking is so big in Kenya, what is your strategy?
Marianne Nyangi: Last year we launched our mobile banking to help us are grow the retail and mass market business. What we’ve realized is that more women are taking up mobile and internet banking, so they can access their banks without having to come to the branch. They are time poor so they want convenient banking.
GBA: Do you have any products that have specific attributes designed for women?
Marianne Nyangi: All our products are specifically designed for women. We have savings accounts tied to particular needs. For example, we have a product that encourages you to save during pregnancy and has an insurance aspect to it for the childbirth medical expenses. We have savings plans for children’s education. For our young university going women we help them save and then to invest in stocks with as little as 5,000 Ksh (US$58). Another popular product is vehicle rescue, where if you vehicle breaks down you can call the Chase Woman help line and get support and we even have handbag insurance for the ladies handbags.
GBA: How did you first find out about GBA?
Marianne Nyangi: I met Inez during a panel in Tanzania. I was then invited to the 2013 Summit. We were struggling with the program and the company did not fully understand the magnitude of the Women’s Market. But we got such great inputs; seeing what other banks are doing really helped us get on track.
GBA: What specifically are your hopes for your new membership in the Alliance?
Marianne Nyangi: Now we are getting mentored from the people who have gone ahead of us and getting access to learning opportunities such as the Study Tours. Once we’ve gained some more experience we would like to share with other banks in Africa so that they can do this.
-As told to the Global Banking Alliance for Women
|Chase Bank Kenya
AT A GLANCE
(as of December 31st, 2013)
# Of employees: 907
# Of full service branches: 34
# Of ATMs: 32
# Of customers: 54,785
USD value of outstanding loan portfolio: US$460 M
USD value of deposits: US$600M