Tuesday 29th November 2016
This month GBA staff and our members represented the Alliance at two events hosted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, speaking to regulators about practical ways to include women in the financial system. The first event took place in Colombia, as AFI launched its regional strategy for Latin America, and the second, in collaboration with the Arab Monetary Fund, took place in Jordan. The dialogue was rich, and GBA demonstrated that while our holistic value proposition to women is eminently commercially viable, our bank members — represented this time by BLC Bank in Lebanon and Bank al Etihad in Jordan — also ably act as advocates in their own markets for regulatory changes that positively impact women and their capacity to serve them.
Examples of policies on GBA bank wish-lists include promoting loan guarantees and lines of credit aimed at supporting women SME owners in the sub-sectors they are operating in; preferential rates on funds and/or the capacity to free up some reserves; adequate credit bureau as well as collateral registries so that moveable assets can be taken as collateral; robust market data to accurately size the market and penetration levels; support for equity investments in high-growth start-ups; integrating women into the supply chain through government procurement mandates; supporting ecosystem actors in supplying financial and business education as well as incubators; simplifying KYC requirements; flexible work hours to encourage back-to-work schemes; and examination of the range of laws on the books that hamper in one form or another a woman’s capacity to participate in the economy.
Some of these topics and more will be discussed at the 2017 Summit, which I am proud to announce will be hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in London, November 14-16. RBS is the largest lender to SMEs in the United Kingdom, and since 2007, its team of specialist Relationship Managers in their Women in Business program have opened more than 320,000 women-owned business accounts, enabling women to achieve their ambitions by starting and growing successful businesses. RBS recently opened a number of business accelerator hubs, which provide free business accelerator services for start-up, early stage and growing businesses. We will see this first-hand during the 2017 Summit and bring multiple stakeholders’ perspectives as we examine how an economy like the UK is tackling the supply- and demand-side issues of financing women of all segments.
GBA will, in the next couple of weeks, announce the locations and timing of our other peer learning events for 2017, namely our Study Tours and All-Stars Academy trainings, designed to support members to advance their programs and prospective members to start to build theirs.
Finally, this month we are delighted to welcome our 9th member in Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), into the fold. KCB is the largest bank in Kenya, with a presence in five additional countries throughout the continent, including Burundi, with staff from KCB Burundi attending our first All-Stars Academy in June. In this issue we interview Samuel Makome, the Group Chief Operating Officer, and ask him why the bank is taking on the Women’s Market.
Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women