Low-income salaried women who are employed cleaning houses, working in factories and hotels. Women’s World Banking’s research team visited Bangalore and Delhi, India to determine how to close the financial inclusion gap for garment factory employees. The research revealed that women factory workers, despite having their salaries deposited directly into a “no-frills” account, had little control over the account. Only 34 percent had sole ownership of their accounts, compared to 91 percent of men, and 57 percent of women handed their incomes over to someone else, compared to 12 percent of men. Women’s World Banking will move this research into action through partnerships to provide financial education and products for these women.
Women who own small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Full financial inclusion for women means access to a variety of appropriate financial products and services to meet their diverse needs. A projected 48 million female entrepreneurs and 64 million female business owners currently employ one or more people in their businesses. It is estimated that over 70% of these women-led enterprises are either un-served or underserved financially. In fact, the credit gap for these companies is estimated at over $300 billion. Women’s World Banking conducted research to identify best practices among banks that are successfully serving this market.
Low-income women affected by natural disasters. When natural disasters strike, low-income women feel the impact acutely. What can financial institutions do to support their clients and the community in crisis? What services do clients need? To answer these questions, Women’s World Banking began research in 2014, interviewing eight network institutions that suffered natural disasters or political unrest. We studied a range of approaches—from financial offerings such as bridge loans and expedited insurance payments to non-financial offerings including relief packages and child care during rebuilding. Best practices emerged in many institutions, for example Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation in the Philippines, which sets aside budget each year for natural disasters like the 2013 typhoon Yolanda. This institution has also developed partnerships with the private sector and NGOs to help clients rebuild after a disaster.
These women may also have other income-generating activities such as running a small shop or making and selling food. Although their financial contributions to the household are important, women rarely perceive them as such; they describe their activities as simply part of being a housewife. However, these women are valuable, unserved potential clients for a bank.
Women’s World Banking concluded a three-year project in 2014 to develop financial products for rural women in Latin America. We partnered with three network members: Interfisa Banco (Paraguay), Fundación delamujer (Colombia), and Caja Arequipa (Peru), each of which saw a growth opportunity in serving this untapped market segment. While all of these institutions had experience offering loans to entrepreneurs, most had developed that expertise among an urban clientele and employed the same lending methodology to their rural clients. They found that rural repayment rates were poor, clients were leaving after their first loans and women made up a much smaller part of the portfolio than in urban markets. Based on our customer research we were able to modify loans to ensure that they were appropriate for financing women’s rural businesses—the right amount, with repayment dates that match income and without onerous collateral or co-signatory requirements. As a result, more than 43,000 new loans have been issued to women—half of whom were new clients for the banks. Together these women are using this $45 million of new capital to grow their businesses and contribute to the well-being of their families.
1. A rural woman in Malawi needs to travel long distances to reach the nearest bank. The amount spent on bus fare as well as the time spent away from her work or family make it impractical to open a bank account and establish a safe place to save her money.
2. An urban woman in Nigeria can’t afford to take the time away from her busy market stall to visit a nearby bank branch. She doesn’t see the bank as being “for her” and faces great risk carrying her earnings home each night.
Women’s World Banking is working with two commercial banks to break down these barriers by delivering products through a new channel: digital technology. We worked with Diamond Bank in Nigeria to create BETA Savings, a savings account designed for women and men who run stalls in the open-air markets. Agents, knowns as BETA Friends, visit a client’s business to open accounts digitally and handle deposits and withdrawals using mobile technology. By the end of 2014, more than 154,000 accounts were opened, primarily from clients with no prior relationship with a formal financial institution.
In Malawi, NBS Bank worked with Women's World Banking to develop the Pafupi (meaning “close” in the local language of Chichewa) savings account, a digital account designed for low-income rural women with no previous access to a bank. Women can open accounts and make small deposits and withdrawals whenever they want at local shops with NBS Bank agents using mobile technology.
These digital savings products not only help women overcome time and distance barriers, they also offer a step toward economic empowerment. For many women, having a savings account is the first point of access to the formal economy. With digital technology, a woman, who may not have otherwise had access, can open a savings account in her own name. She can plan for her future and the future of her family, build a safety net for times of crisis, and even grow her business with access to loans and other offerings from the bank.
The client. Are clients accessing financial products and services that meet their needs and improve their lives?
The financial institution. Are we developing commercially viable products that contribute to an institution’s financial sustainability and increasing its capacity to serve low-income women?
The industry. Are we fostering a greater understanding of the financial needs of low-income women, knowledge about how to serve this market well, and an evidence base demonstrating both the financial and social impact of serving low-income women?
Women’s World Banking’s Gender Performance Indicators are the first metrics to help financial institutions measure how well they are serving women. A select group of five indicators are used by our network institutions to measure their success in serving women clients, as well as promoting women leaders within their institutions.
We are also returning to institutions where we introduced products to assess the impact of those products. Four years after collaborating with Banco ADOPEM in the Dominican Republic to develop a youth savings program called the Mía account, Women’s World Banking returned to the bank to evaluate the impact of the program and assess lessons learned. Data gathered through this exercise informed our understanding of the keys to ensuring sustainability for a financial institution’s youth savings program, particularly those serving the low-income market:
1. Offer products for both youth and parents
2. Design products without dormancy fees so small balances can grow
3. Establish a retention plan to ensure youth stay with the bank
4. Invest in marketing and financial education
5. Ensure products are financially sustainable
As conveners. Only 30 percent of women in sub-Saharan Africa have a bank account. The reasons are many and potential solutions abound. Women’s World Banking has convened 12 high-profile African leaders committed to increasing women’s participation in the formal financial sector to form the Africa Advisory Council. Council members are from diverse backgrounds, geographies and industries, highlighting the wide range of people and organizations it takes to work together to close the financial inclusion gap. Members serve as ambassadors for women’s financial inclusion issues within their personal and professional circles.
By training mission-focused leaders. Serving low-income clients sustainably takes dedication and focus. Women’s World Banking has been training leaders of financial institutions to better serve women for more than a decade. Our current Leadership and Diversity for Innovation program helps financial institutions achieve their social and financial goals as they navigate ever-changing and competitive environments. In 2014 we trained senior managers in Nigeria, Bolivia and Colombia and held our signature Women in Leadership Program for high-potential women in Latin America.
As active shareholders. Financial institutions need capital from investors who understand that investing in “unbanked” women can provide both social and financial returns. Women’s World Banking Capital Partners, launched in 2012, is a $50 million private equity limited partnership that invests directly in women-focused financial institutions, providing much-needed capital for growth and product expansion, as well as strategic guidance on serving the women’s market.
As thought leaders. Women’s World Banking was recognized by The Guardian as one of the top 10 Twitter accounts to follow for financial inclusion. In 2014, Women's World Banking participated in women-focused initiatives of the World Economic Forum, the G20, the Better Than Cash Alliance and many other collaborations. Our staff members were featured speakers at high-profile events and organizations around the world, including the UN Women’s EmpowerWomen.org, Trust Women Conference, the Council on Foreign Relations, Mobile Money Americas, the Institute of International Finance, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In November 2015, we will convene our network members, industry leaders and allies from around the world—join us in Berlin for our Making Finance Work for Women Summit!
|Assets||Total 2014||Total 2013|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$ 9,822,850||5,215,494|
|Due from FWWB||284,250||126,907|
|Grants and contributions receivable, net||1,347,513||2,396,118|
|Grants receivable from FWWB||269,391||391,475|
|Interest in net assets of supporting organization||2,330,172||896,962|
|Furniture, equipment, and leasehold improvements, net||625,799||39,922|
|Liabilities and Net Assets|
|Accounts payable and accrued expenses||630,155||508,980|
|Permanently restricted capital fund||693,076||688,851|
|Total net assets||31,800,807||27,175,210|
|Total liabilities and net assets||$ 32,469,012||27,744,501|
|Revenue and support||
|Grants and contributions||$ 172,772||11,027,540||4,225||11,204,537||8,299,916|
|Investment return, net of fees||2,317||267,249||—||269,566||1,904,778|
|Change in interest in supporting organization||—||1,433,210||—||1,433,210||207,292|
|Foreign currency translation gain (loss)||—||(200,155)||—||(200,155)||234,900|
|Fee for services||842,771||—||—||842,771||708,414|
|Net assets released from restrictions||9,467,559||(9,467,559)||—||—||—|
|Total revenue and support||10,798,908||3,084,065||4,225||13,887,198||11,964,177|
|Expenses and loss|
|Institutional development programs||1,922,513||—||—||1,922,513||2,912,030|
|Functional products and services||3,216,744||—||—||3,216,744||2,844,027|
|Knowledge and influence||1,336,740||—||—||1,336,740||1,414,875|
|Total program services||6,475,997||—||—||6,475,997||7,170,932|
|General and administrative||1,222,253||—||—||1,222,253||1,028,347|
|Contributions to network members||168,327||—||—||168,327||595,602|
|Loss on refunds and uncollectible receivables||8,675||—||—||8,675||177,725|
|Total expenses and loss||8,693,072||—||—||8,693,072||9,794,730|
|Return of donor funds||1,095||567,434||—||568,529||—|
|Increase in net assets||2,104,741||2,516,631||4,225||4,625,597||2,169,447|
|Net assets at beginning of year||2,951,232||23,535,127||688,851||27,175,210||25,005,763|
|Net assets at end of year||$ 5,055,973||26,051,758||693,076||31,800,807||27,175,210|
|Assets||Total 2014||Total 2013|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$ 1,161,336||1,419,304|
|Grants and contributions receivable, net||1,659,773||30,340|
|Liabilities and Net Assets|
|Accounts payable and accrued expenses||7,317||34,300|
|Due to SWWB||284,250||126,907|
|Grants payable to SWWB||269,391||391,475|
|Permanently restricted – income unrestricted||—||4,225|
|Total net assets||2,330,172||896,962|
|Total liabilities and net assets||$ 2,891,130||1,449,644|
|Revenue and support||
|Grants and contributions||$ 399,793||4,579,876||—||4,979,669||2,779,172|
|Less direct benefits to donors||(53,470)||—||—||(53,470)||(74,519)|
|Net assets released from restrictions||3,583,422||(3,579,197)||(4,225)||—||—|
|Total revenue and support||4,664,679||1,000,679||(4,225)||5,661,133||3,156,550|
|Expenses and loss|
|Grants and contributions to Stichting to
Promote Women's World Banking
|Program development and education||52,621||—||—||52,621||77,940|
|Total program services||3,635,143||—||—||3,635,143||2,465,064|
|General and administrative||52,621||—||—||52,621||24,943|
|Increase (decrease) in net assets||436,756||1,000,679||(4,225)||1,433,210||207,292|
|Net assets at beginning of year||242,737||650,000||4,225||896,962||689,670|
|Net assets at end of year||$ 679,493||1,650,679||—||2,330,172||896,962|
Women’s World Banking relies on its core funding partners to make our operations possible. We share mandates to promote gender equality and increase financial inclusion, while reducing poverty and working toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Women’s World Banking values the reciprocal relationship it has with each core funder. We are proud to partner with these leaders in the development community and are very grateful for their strategic inputs and financial support.
Women’s World Banking is governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members are all recognized leaders in banking, finance, business, law, community organizing or women’s economic participation. The organization is enhanced by this powerful combination of leaders from various disciplines who together ensure that Women’s World Banking’s work is relevant and grounded. The Board has fiduciary responsibility for the organization and is charged with approving Women’s World Banking’s policies, strategies and annual budgets.
Dr. Jennifer Riria
—Vice Chair, Treasurer
Ela Bhatt—Honorary member for life
Marleen van den Horst
Suzanne Nora Johnson
Micheala Walsh—Honorary member for life
Friends of WWB/USA, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, which raises donations from U.S. foundations, corporations and individuals in support of Women’s World Banking’s global mission. Friends of WWB maintains a separate Board of Directors comprised of leaders in law, business, marketing, finance and academia who provide fundraising capability and strategic guidance on Women’s World Banking’s global initiatives and U.S. presence.