China’s Great Wall West China Bank is the first bank in China to establish a Women in Business program.
Established in 1998, Great Wall West China Bank is the only privately held bank in the City of Deyang. Its strategic goal is to develop innovative products and services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises, as well as Deyang’s rural and urban residents, with a special focus on women. The bank provides a variety of products in its more than 40 branches, including loans for laid-off workers, student loans, mutual-guaranteed loans for SMEs and micro-enterprise loans. With an asset base of US$8.8 billion and deposits of US$5.7 billion, the bank has received a number of awards and recognitions from the Chinese banking regulator and the Chinese Banking Authority for its services, including Most Innovative Financial Institution of the Year and Top 100 Joint-stock Commercial Bank of China.
After receiving financial and advisory support from the IFC, the bank launched a micro-loan program for women, supported by the Chinese government, which targets women entrepreneurs from rural households as well as small business owners. The bank set up its first Financial Service Center for Women in Deyang City in 2009, a pilot branch dedicated to providing tailored services to women entrepreneurs. The bank also works with local NGOs and has hosted a series of lectures and established an online portal. In an effort to encourage local companies and individuals to invest in women entrepreneurs, Great Wall West China Bank launched its Good Sisters Women Entrepreneurship Helping Initiative in late 2014.