Inez Murray: Women in Business – Bankers Advised to Take Note
Getting banks to notice women is quite the challenge. Whereas research consistently shows that women are exceedingly good at managing money and budgets, banks often ignore the female demographic or fail to put processes in place that facilitate the financial inclusion of women.
The Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) aims to change this pattern and by doing so foster wealth creation for women. Ms Inez Murray is CEO of the Global Banking Alliance since November 2012 and works tirelessly for the empowerment of women at every economic level – business owners, household managers, and community leaders.
“Women are critical to progress. For banks this means that catering to the specific needs of female customers is of institutional importance.”
Though most bankers readily agree that women are essential to their business, few understand the needs of female customers. One of the GBA’s flagship programmes tries to change this by mentoring banks willing to offer financial services and products to low-income women entrepreneurs.
In January, the MetLife insurance company, through its MetLife Foundation, awarded GBA a sizeable grant to help develop this mentoring programme further, recognizing that the women’s market represents “the single biggest untapped opportunity” in the financial services sector.
GBA’s mentoring programme mainly aims to help member banks capitalize on talent and expertise they may already have in-house but have failed to either tap or identify. Ms Murray emphasizes that women entrepreneurs are creating businesses at an ever increasing rate that in some countries already surpasses that of their male counterparts. “We now are suggesting banks take a closer look at this dynamic segment. The business case then often builds itself. Banks can simply not afford to ignore the female demographic any longer.”
The Global Banking Alliance for Women was founded in 2000 and is the leading organisation striving for female financial inclusion and wealth creation. GBA has 25 member institutions working in 135 countries to provide women-run business with access to capital, markets, education and training. GBA provides member institutions with technical assistance, peer learning and best practice guidelines.