The Case of Chile

What 14 Years of Women’s Banking Data Can Tell Us

Since 2002, Chile’s regulator has regularly collected and produced sex-disaggregated data on the country’s banking sector. This panel explored the rationale, challenges and opportunities of doing this and discussed the potential application to other countries.

Key Points

  • Based on GBA’s research, Chile is the only country that has been collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data from its banking system for the last 14 years, as well as producing reports on the gender diversity of its financial system.
  • As the country’s regulatory authority, the Superintendencia de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras (SBIF) de Chile: operates with independence and autonomy from the government and the public and private sectors, maintains transparency and accountability, works toward modernization of supervision and financial regulation, and aims to increase inclusion and financial education. It is within this last pillar that the focus on gender comes into play.
  • There is limited data globally that would enable comparison of the results and trends of this survey. Some information shows that higher-income countries have higher levels of financial coverage; however, there appears to be no correlation with the gender gap.

2015 Panel 3_2

  • The analysis looks at four areas: access to savings, credit accounts, the use of cash, and the payment behaviors of men and women.
  • In regard to credit, although women are 13% below the base of men borrowers, they borrow just less than 50% of the portfolio. They borrow less on average, but they borrow more for housing products.
  • In terms of access and population, women’s access has grown significantly — at 154% between 2002-2014, compared to 65% for men.
  • In terms of savings, there does not appear to exist a gap between men and women. The number of savings accounts for women is 20% higher than for men; however, the savings amount is actually lower (4% lower during the last period).
  • In regard to cash management products, there have been big increases in terms of access, but there are significant gaps in usage: Only 38% of all current accounts are held by women. There are also differences in the amount of money, with only 33% of all cash being used by women.
  • In terms of financial integrity of men and women and how they behave with credit payments, women have consistently better behavior.
  • Although the report has been published 13 times, it had not been disseminated widely prior to this year. Superintendent Parrado coordinated an event to increase dissemination. The report was also re-packaged to be more user-friendly, and the SBIF is looking to expand its analysis, including cutting the data by age and other segments.
  • Additional data points that could be useful include distinguishing which women are dependents and which are not, as well as additional information on businesses and more details on women’s entrepreneurship.

  • Although the data is required by the SBIF, there is no penalty for institutions that do not report. However, 100% of banking institutions report the data, which includes 80% of the banking system.
  • BancoEstado is the only bank that has a focus on women, and it is also a member of the GBA. 58% of its 12 million customers are women.
  • In 2007, the bank launched a simplified savings account “Cuenta RUT,” which allowed more women to gain access to banking services.
  • BancoEstado realized that the financial system was not working for women when they received feedback from entrepreneurs that the bank was not providing sufficient credit to them because they represented their businesses in a different manner than men.
  • In 2014 BancoEstado launched a program that specifically focused on women entrepreneurs. They looked at various sources of data, one of which was the SBIF report. They then complemented the report with their own market research.
  • They found that in Chile, women represent 51% of the population, but only 38% of micro businesses belong to women and 22% of SMEs. This may be because women typically focus on sectors that generate lower income because they offer more flexibility, making it harder for women’s businesses to grow.
  • BancoEstado’s research revealed that banking institutions don’t understand women, and they get rejected by banks at higher rates than men. Therefore, they tend to take their business to retail institutions.

Panels Button


Vice President,
Global Banking
Alliance for Women

of Banks and
Financial Institutions
of Chile

Small Enterprise


“We see big
differences in terms
of women’s and
men’s [financial]

— Eric Parrado

“We have found
this diamond [the
women’s data], so
now we need to shape
it to get the results.
This is just a first step;
now we need to better
analyze the data.”

— Eric Parrado

“[It is important to
highlight] the role that
men [can] play. …
Women can’t do it
— Eric Parrado

“Based on our
experience working
with women customers,
we got the feeling the
financial system was
working against them.”

— Maria Soledad
Ovando Green

“During the 2015
launch event, Chile’s
President Bachelet called
the report ‘fundamental
to identify gaps and
determine actions to
accelerate the empowerment
of women.’”

— Rebecca Ruf