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Women's World Banking Honors Citi for its Commitment to Global Financial Inclusion

May 07, 2019
Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking

Each year, millions of people across the globe open their first bank account. According to the World Bank, between 2011 and 2017, the percentage of people banked grew from 51% to 69% of adults. Nevertheless, one thing that has remained constant is the gender gap in account ownership. Women across the globe are less likely to have a bank account than their male counterparts: 72% and 65%, respectively, with a gap that has remained unchanged since 2011.

At Women's World Banking, we design and invest in the financial solutions, institutions and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. Over the last 40 years, our commitment to ensuring low-income women have the financial tools and services to build economic security for themselves and their families has been unwavering. Today, our work is as relevant as ever as women still face persistent barriers to accessing and using well-designed financial products that meet their specific needs.

We know that no single organization or government can build a more inclusive financial system alone. That's why we have cultivated a global network of 53 partners in 32 countries serving more than 30 million women clients. Last month, Women's World Banking celebrated our 40th anniversary, and honored leading partners and institutions who have supported us on our journey towards financial inclusion and empowerment for women across the globe.IMG_0735

"For forty years, Women's World Banking has played a vital role in spearheading financial inclusion for women around the world," said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. "By developing an extensive global network and large-scale market-driven solutions, they help ensure that women and their families have the access to the capital they need to grow, both now and for generations to come."

Our work would not be possible without the passionate and resolute staff, board, funders and advocates that have supported us throughout our 40-year history. I'm particularly pleased to honor Citi and the Citi Foundation for their significant contributions to Women's World Banking's impact on women, communities and economies.

Citi recognizes that there is an opportunity for global institutions to work toward closing this access gap by collaborating with trusted local organizations on solutions that meet the needs of underserved households in a safe and appropriate way. Through a specialist team known as Citi Inclusive Finance, they leverage the company's expertise and global footprint to develop platforms and innovative partnerships that enable clients to meet their business objectives in ways that are inclusive by design.

For 20 years, Citi's creative partnerships with Women's World Banking and its members exemplify how they help improve financial convenience and choice for borrowers, and most importantly, go the last mile to expand access for women across the globe. Citi has collaborated with Women's World Banking network members in several countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Jordan and the Philippines.

In India, Ujjivan, a small finance bank, offers a range of loans, from individual loans as small as $30, to group loans to support networks of self-employed women, and home loans up to $15,000 through its established presence of nearly 500 branches. In 2014 and 2015, Citi and U.S. Government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provided $7.8 million in financing to Ujjivan, expanding their portfolio to small-scale borrowers across the country.

In Jordan, where just one in ten women are participating in the formal economy, Citi provided $5 million in financing to Microfund for Women (MFW), one of Jordan's leading microfinance institutions. This financing will enable Microfund for Women to provide loans to an additional 10,000 underserved Jordanian women, increasing their number of borrowers by 7%.

When global and local financial institutions collaborate in this way, we can help enable inclusive economic growth for all.

To learn more about Citi's Inclusive Finance work, read recent coverage in the Financial Times and Jordan Times.