Wednesday 13th November 2013
GBA members from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the USA visited Westpac’s headquarters in Sydney on the week of November 4th for a comprehensive study tour that focused on successfully launching a Women’s Market program. The study tour included presentations from the different teams all across Westpac that are involved in both the day-to-day execution of the Women’s Markets program and the supporting systems required to ensure the program is fully embedded within the bank. Topics covered included:
Larke Riemer, Director of Westpac’s Women’s Market program, described Westpac’s journey which started more than 15 years ago. As a customer-focused, not a product driven bank, the decision to improve service to 50% of their customers was a practical one. But if Westpac was to become the bank of choice for women, it first had to become the employer of choice as well as a matter of consistency and transparency.
Westpac’s approach to targeting women is a simple one: providing the same off-the-shelf products that are available to all customers but positioning them effectively with women and offering women the important non-financial services that are essential for their success-access to information, networking opportunities, and financial education. When asked why Westpac is so generous with other banks, Larke Riemer replied “Gail Kelly always says that a sign of a good leader is one who shares.” And share, Westpac did. Their generosity was greatly appreciated by participants:
“The amount of work that goes into what I would call ‘non-core’ banking, I find it remarkable. I am just thinking this is what will make you sustainable.” UT Bank Ghana
“It is very nice to see how it all works and your willingness to share is wonderful. We now know what we need to do.” Bank al Etihad, Jordan
“I came to learn about gender, but I learned so much more about how to manage a bank. Everybody was so kind, I learned a lot about how to handle employees and diversity.” Itau Unibanco, Brazil
“My main takeaways are that the support of the CEO and senior management is key, that you need a dedicated team, that this is about changing people’s mindsets. I am going to keep reemphasizing with our client banks-that this takes time but it is worth the effort. I am really impressed.” EBRD, United Kingdom
“A major takeaway is that this is a journey and at no point can you say that it is finished. It is also interesting that in spite of the successes there have been challenges but you have forged ahead. Also, it is such a big organization, but you work as a team. In spite of your size you have be able to enforce that team work, and that takes singular focus. The passion that Larke brings is contagious, so I am always willing to listen to the Larke.” Access Bank, Nigeria
“Thank you so much. I learned a tremendous amount.” IFC, Africa
The GBA team also learned a tremendous amount and will be writing a case study on Westpac in the New Year. In the meantime, check out www.rubyconnection.com.au Ruby’s website and GBA members, please go to our member only section of the GBA website-the Vault-to get a hold of some of the material shared during this Study Tour.
Thank you Westpac for your incredible generosity.
We look forward to seeing member banks in our next Study Tour which will take place in early April 2014 hosted by GBA anchor bank in MENA-BLC Bank, Lebanon. This study tour is open to GBA members only.