Empowering women through banking
In 2023, women empowerment is not a new buzz word anymore rather it demands an honest appraisal of their struggles along with a renewed push for change.
With the vision to celebrate womanhood and their innumerable contributions, on March 8 we as organisations and individuals bear the flag of International Women's Day even though our emphatic movement still could not capture the optimum picture of true women empowerment.
On the journey of structuring a balanced economic profile of a woman in Bangladesh, financial institutions cannot afford to choose a different path while almost 51 per cent of the population represents women.
Despite the market adoption in terms of technology and innovation is sluggish, there is no such alternative to create a comprehensive approach to contemplate women as a whole and initiate the march forward in the light of International Women's Day.
Like any other sector, banking does not have the privilege anymore to limit its activities within lending and borrowing deposit rather to be part of customer's day to day life, it has redefined its meta role to empower the community and strengthen their power of economic decision.
Thus, a horizon of value-added services, personal and professional development platforms, techno infused solutions are paving the way of a new banking era where customers can access to its banking needs anytime anywhere.
Without ensuring a strong relationship with banks broadly financial institutions and women empowerment, the process is merely a side walker in a paper-based dream.
When empowerment itself highly demands the decision-making capability of a woman accessible to strong financial portfolio and investment, banking is the unrivalled friend in need at the very first marathon.
Access to finance is one of the fundamental key areas, banking and women entrepreneurs typically meet and start growing with each other.
Banking has a certain values like integrity, assurance, loyalty, confidentiality etc. while performing any decision with the depositor's investment.
So, we expect number of proven track records as paperwork, certifications, endorsements etc. when we lend any amount of money regardless of type of business.
Due to a lack of effective grooming of financial management at the very early stage of entrepreneurial journey, women entrepreneurs either fall short in terms of investment or find the usual process of lending a difficult task to complete.
To help women entrepreneurs, banks needs to take care of female entrepreneurs and women at large through social awareness, skill development and capacity building, access to financial products and services, professional and personal wellbeing.
They should offer 360-degree solutions along with a wide range of non-financial customer benefit programmes to meet banking and financial necessities of women's business and lifestyle needs.
The writer is senior executive vice president and head of business for retail and SME banking at Eastern Bank Ltd.