Germany Sets out GPFI Priorities

26 Jan 2017
Germany in December released its Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion German 2017 Priorities Paper.  Priorities outlined in this key GPFI document include: (a) review and update of the GPFI Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP): 2030 Agenda and digitization; (b) implementation of the G20 High Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion: opportunities and risks; (c) implementation of the G20 Action Plan on SME Financing; and (d) development of a work stream on financial inclusion of vulnerable groups: forcibly displaced persons.
As outlined in the Priorities Paper, in 2017 the GPFI and its Subgroups will also pursue work on other important topics, including remittances (including efforts to strengthen competition, use of new digital technologies, improving transaction infrastructure of strengthening consumer protection), financial literacy (assessment of financial literacy in G20 countries), and further work on implementation of the Recommendations in the 2016 GPFI White Paper, Global Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion: The Evolving Landscape.
Germany will host formal GPFI meetings in January and in July 2017:
  • GPFI Workshop: review and update of the Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP), 23 January 2017, Wiesbaden
  • GPFI Meeting, January 24, 2017, Wiesbaden
  • GPFI Forum, May 2-3, 2017, Berlin
  • GPFI Plenary, May 4, 2017, Berlin

These meetings will be complemented by GPFI-related events:

  • G20 Conference: “Digitising finance, financial inclusion and financial literacy,” January 25-26, 2017, Wiesbaden
  • G20 Workshop: “Helping SME’s go global  Moving forward in SME Finance, February 24, 2017, Frankfurt
  • “Responsible Finance Forum: Opportunities and Risks in Digital Financial Services – How do we best protect consumers and their privacy?” April 27-28, 2017, Berlin

How Can the Financial Industry Overcome Barriers to Financial Inclusion?

26 Jan 2017

The Project will help mainstream financial institutions overcome barriers to reaching unserved and underserved populations with quality financial services. The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI), the Institute of International Finance (IIF) and MetLife Foundation, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a technical partner, announced today a two-year initiative to help advance the financial services industry’s ability to reach unserved and underserved populations. The project, titled Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices, will facilitate learning and action on how financial institutions can respond to the specific challenges of reaching lower income market segments. Through research, knowledge exchange, best practices, real world examples and expert insights, the project will identify and transmit practical guidance that financial institutions can use to expand quality services to the poor.

Building on findings from CFI and IIF’s previous joint study, “The Business of Financial Inclusion: Insights from Banks in Emerging Markets,” the project will explore six topics that financial institutions identified as key challenges when serving customers at the base of the economic pyramid:

1) Partnering with fintech startups,

2) Building financial capability of low income populations,

3) Extending insurance coverage,

4) Improving agent banking models,

5) Opening bank accounts remotely, and

6) Utilizing data analytics.

Financial technologies and digital financial services are revolutionizing the way customers access and use financial services, opening the way for banks, insurance companies, payment providers and other financial institutions to serve millions of underserved customers. Yet globally, there are still 2 billion people who are completely “unbanked,” and even more who have an account, but use it only rarely or not at all. Financial institutions face hurdles achieving the long-term business viability and sustainability needed to expand and deepen their reach with this customer segment.

IFC will play a technical advisory role in collaboration with CFI and IIF. “This partnership will contribute to achieving the World Bank Group’s Universal Financial Access goals, and leverage IFC’s experience in investment and private sector development,” said Martin Holtmann, Manager of IFC’s Microfinance and Digital Financial Services.

IIF, the global association of the financial industry, will provide expertise, co-host events, and engage its membership—500 financial institutions from 70 countries—which constitutes the primary audience for this project. “Inclusion of the under and unbanked populations into the financial ecosystem has become an important piece of banks’ strategic plans. Many firms are harnessing new technologies and leveraging partners to create sustainable programs to reach these populations,” said Tim Adams, President and CEO of the IIF. “With more progress to be made, we look forward to working with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion on building best practices and developing practical solutions to the challenges firms face in bringing the financial system to the underserved.”

As an industry thought-leader, CFI lends its experience helping financial institutions serve low-income customers and its connection to fintech companies in emerging markets. “The partnership between CFI and IIF provides a unique opportunity to engage some of the most important financial institutions operating in developing countries in practical learning, and through this process, it will help accelerate and deepen financial inclusion,” said Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director, CFI. “Our approach is to build communities of knowledge and commitment and to hold the industry responsible for progress. Our intent with this project is to provide financial institutions with practical knowledge to overcome their business challenges and successfully serve the base of the pyramid, providing the poor with better products, service, reliability, and quality.”

In keeping with their commitment to financial inclusion, MetLife Foundation has provided nearly $400,000 over two years to support this project. “MetLife Foundation is pleased to support efforts that improve the availability of high-quality financial services for low-income people around the world,” said Dennis White, president & CEO, MetLife Foundation. “Mainstream financial institutions have many tools and services that help people manage their daily financial lives, grow their businesses and assets and save for the future. We look forward to seeing additional solutions that can help low-income people improve their financial health in the same way.” MetLife Foundation has made a $200 million dollar, five year commitment to improve financial inclusion worldwide.

Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index

25 Jan 2017

The 2017 Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI) recognizes 52 firms that have made strong commitments to gender equality and is based on an evaluation of their gender statistics, employee policies, gender-conscious product offerings, as well as their external community support and engagement.

Highlights from this year’s index include:

  • 2017 BFGEI member firms have an average of 24.2% female representation on boards.
  • The percentage of female executives at 2017 BFGEI member firms increased by 25.2% between fiscal year 2014 and 2015.
  • 73% require a gender-diverse slate of candidates for management roles.
  • 83% offer or sponsor financial education programs for women in their communities.
  • Nine firms track repayment rates by gender.
  • 75% provide return to work programs for women.

2017 Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index Member Firms

  • AIA Group
  • Allianz
  • American Express
  • Australia & New Zealand Banking
  • AXA
  • Banco Santander
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Bank of New York Mellon
  • Bank of Queensland
  • Barclays
  • BB Seguridade Participacoes
  • BNP Paribas
  • CIBC
  • Citigroup
  • Daiwa Securities
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Fifth Third Bancorp
  • First Data
  • Franklin Resources
  • Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV
  • Hang Seng Bank
  • The Hartford
  • HDFC Bank
  • ING Groep
  • Itau Unibanco Holding
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Malayan Banking
  • Mastercard
  • MetLife
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
  • Mizuho Financial
  • Morgan Stanley
  • MS&AD Insurance
  • Nordea Bank
  • Old National Bancorp
  • Park National
  • PNC Financial Services
  • Prudential
  • QBE Insurance
  • RBC
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Standard Chartered
  • State Street
  • Swedbank
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Turkiye Garanti Bankasi
  • UBS
  • Visa
  • Voya Financial
  • Westpac Banking
  • Zurich Insurance

The following firms outside of the 2017 BFGEI universe criteria are recognized for their commitment to disclosure around gender equality by voluntarily submitting GEI survey data: Banco Popular, Clorox, L’Oreal

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