On the afternoon of Tuesday 26 April, a group of WIFS-members virtually came together to discuss the topic of women’s financial inclusion during the first in the series of WIFS 50/50 Powertalks. We we’re lucky to have Chantal Korteweg, Director Inclusive Banking at ABN Amro, with us to discuss the ABN Amro report ‘The value of inclusivity in banking’ which was published and officially received by Her Majesty Queen Máxima in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development during its launch event in February.
After welcoming words by WIFS board member Lievijne, and a quick round of introduction from all participants, Chantal kicked off by providing participants with an overview of the findings of the report and on her experience with the topic of financial inclusion, both at ABN Amro as well as in her previous position at Dutch Development Bank FMO. From a discussion of the findings in the report, it became clear that women with different backgrounds and throughout different stages of life are all facing specific obstacles and barriers in finance, ranging from lack of support or easily available advice, lack of a strong relationship with the back, lack of products tailored to their specific needs and wants (among which ESG-related investment products). Chantal explained that based on the report’s findings, ABN AMRO is exploring initiatives and solutions to address these barriers, like providing more personal contact, easier communication, and tailored products and services, as well as to adapt the advisory style to be more inclusive and to start measuring gender disaggregated performance.
Chantal emphasized that this topic is not one that ABN AMRO wants and intends to work on alone: cooperation between different banks and across the financial sector is of utmost importance. It was therefore helpful and inspiring to see a constructive dialogue between the various participants on their own experiences with the topic within their respective organizations taking place during the event, leading to different synergies and way forwards being discussed.
All in all, a very informative and inspiring event that will be followed up by collaboration on the topic going forward.
The WIFS 50/50 Powertalks will take place once every two months. By providing a platform for various views and insights around gender equality and inclusion we aim to bring WIFS members together and inspire them. Our goal is to empower each of our members to develop their footprints individually and start the ripple effect in the financial sector towards achieving a 50/50 balance.