How did Women’s World Banking do in 2012? A letter from Mary Ellen Iskenderian

July 12, 2013

Women’s World Banking is proud to release its 2012 Annual Report. Below is the President’s Letter, introducing the work and accomplishments featured in the report.

In 2011 Women’s World Banking set-out to prove that providing low-income women with financial services is not charity but smart business. In developing economies 63 percent of women don’t have a bank account, which severely limits their ability to build a business or save for emergencies or a child’s education. During the second year of our three-year strategic plan, we provided more than 1,000,000 clients with access to the financial tools and resources they need.

Our model includes incubating new products and replicating what we learned in other markets. During 2012 we continued to incubate new products (loans for rural women) and scaled tested products to new markets (insurance and youth savings). An external evaluation of progress under this strategic plan confirmed the effectiveness of the projects we lay out in this report and that the organization is well-positioned to continue expanding on these successes.

Our strategy, driven by client-centric product development and strong leadership at our network institutions, requires continual and rigorous measurement and evaluation. Findings from recent evaluations of our youth savings, financial education and leadership development work can be found on pages 13, 21, and 23. This focus on monitoring and evaluation helps us to develop better products and prove that we are improving the lives of women and girls globally. In addition, Women’s World Banking launched the Gender Performance Initiative to provide financial institutions with a comprehensive set of performance indicators that measure how effectively they are serving women, both as clients and staff.

Women’s World Banking also welcomed our first partner in Lebanon, with the induction of Al Majmoua into our network. This institution joins a strong network that has shown the sustainability of focusing on women. In aggregate the network serves 19 million clients and outperforms the industry on operating efficiency and return on assets. This year Women’s World Banking not only created new financial products and expanded our network to new markets, we also introduced a new brand identity with updated messaging and logo to more accurately reflect the innovative work we are doing. With this annual report I am thrilled to unveil Women’s World Banking’s new look!

I am very proud of the accomplishments and impact of our work in 2012. We look forward to continuing our work to improve the lives of women, families and communities worldwide.