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Virtual Roundtable Series on COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts #6-Banking Women Entrepreneurs during COVID-19

30 April 2020
8 : 00
9 : 15
Business woman with mask puts money into piggy bank

Featuring Santander, BRAC Bank, and BHD Leon experiences

By invitation only

Financial inclusion for women has always been challenging, particularly in emerging and developing markets where women entrepreneurs have lower access to capital, which severely restricts their progress and ability to contribute to the national economies. The COVID-19 crisis makes financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs even more challenging as it poses serious threats to the financial stability of SMEs, and especially to women entrepreneurs. A recent policy brief, prepared by the OECD, highlights that despite women follow more risk-averse business strategies, women-operated businesses may be at higher risk of closing during periods of reduced or zero revenue.

Therefore, promoting good practices in women entrepreneur financing has always been an important focus of the SME Finance Forum. As part of its “Learn” member services, the Forum has organized numerous learning sessions, both through webinars and physical meetings, to showcase experiences and good practice examples from financial and non-financial service providers, that work to accelerate women financial empowerment, in hope that more of those good practices are widely adopted by other institutions so women entrepreneurs can be better served.

In the sixth virtual roundtable, organized by the SME Finance Forum on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 8:00 a.m., you will learn how institutions serving women-owned businesses in emerging markets are addressing these challenges, supporting them with innovative financial solutions during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic.

Join the discussion with Banco Santander Argentina, the largest private commercial bank in Argentina, BHD Leon, a commercial bank in the Dominican Republic with more than one million customers, and SME Finance Forum member BRAC Bank, in Bangladesh, winner of the 2019 Global SME Finance Awards for the “women-owned SME Bank of the year” category.






José Etchegoyen is a Senior Global Banking on Women Specialist at IFC. José has over 20 years of experience in international banking and emerging markets, focused on unbanked or underserved populations. Currently, at IFC, he leads advisory services, product development, and strategy for the Banking on Women business line in Latin America. He also leads mentoring and training activities on best practices in Banking on Women. Prior to joining IFC, he served as Director of Financial Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services in Washington D.C. and Principal Banking Solutions Specialist at SAS Institute in Miami, Florida. He also worked in leading FIs in the USA and Latin America, such as Citibank and Banco Santander. José holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Business Strategy and Finance from the Kellogg School of Management (Evanston, USA).

María Gabriela Marine is the Head of Women and SME Strategy at BHD Leon in the Dominican Republic, and the Marketing Manager, with over 17 years of experience in the Dominican market. She is an expert in negotiation, marketing systems, franchising, and branding. She develops communication strategies for all Banco BHD Leon's partnerships. Currently leads the strategy of marketing of women and SMEs segments, among others. She is responsible for launching and positioning the "MUJER" credit card business and the updating of its value proposition. She designs and implements marketing strategies for the Women's Market (Gender Strategy for SMEs and individuals) for BHD Leon Bank, thus becoming the brand leader for Dominican women in financial services. Maria Gabriela also leads the development and implementation of the non-financial services value proposition for SMEs, and the positioning of the new brand "OPEN for SME's." 

Pura Mendez is the Women Segment Manager at Banco BHD León in the Dominican Republic, in charge of the implementation of the bank’s gender strategy. This includes development of value propositions for both individuals and SMEs, overseeing metrics and scorecard compliance and evolution, and defining action plans to improve team results. She is also responsible for training sales personnel, coordinating internal communications, and analyzing Women’s Market data to identify patterns and improve value proposition and develop tactical plans for the segment.

Gisela Babbaro is the Product Head, Banca Women, and Select of Banco Santander Argentina, the largest private commercial bank in Argentina.  She is a project leader with over 18 years of experience in the Argentinian financial market. She has a vast experience in launching products for select customers, developing new customer experience models and leveraging widely used technology and creating value to the customer to maximize their experience with the bank’s brand. Currently, she is responsible for two segments: Select and Women, and she also leads marketing strategies to attract new customers adding value in order to keep them engaged with the brand and to ensure customer loyalty. She is an expert in strategy design and implementation towards women empowerment and inclusion in the financial market. Her work includes the development of financial and non-financial value proposals.

Syed Abdul Momen is the Head of SME Banking at BRAC Bank in Bangladesh. He took over as the Head of SME Banking on July 13, 2017. He joined BRAC Bank in August 2005 and he has 13 years of multifaceted experience in the Banking Sector primarily concentrating in Technology, Operations, and Business Functions. During the first 2 years in BRAC Bank, he restructured technology infrastructure and played a crucial role in the Core Banking Platform migration. In August 2007, Momen was posted in BRAC Afghanistan Bank as Chief Operating Officer (COO) on a 2-year secondment. During his tenure in Afghanistan, he looked after the bank's SME Business & expanded the bank's network in three provinces. He has also contributed to the development of SME Banking Policies & Guidelines of Central Bank of Afghanistan. After his return from Afghanistan in 2009, he joined BRAC Bank’s SME Division and ran a special collection project, which was portfolio’s prime concern. After successfully driving the countrywide collection initiative, he was appointed as the Head of Small Business in July 2010 and since then he is leading the industry’s largest small business portfolio. His team was awarded Chairman's Excellence Award in 2012 for extraordinary business achievement. Mr. Momen started his career in ANZ Grindlays Bank in 1999 where he played an instrumental role in the migration of Core Banking Platform in Middle East & South Asia region including Bangladesh, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Nepal, Sri Lanka after the acquisition of Grindlays Bank’s operation by Standard Chartered Bank. He was also instrumental in Standard Chartered Bank’s IT service delivery & business process centralization Project. Mr. Momen is a Computer Communications Graduate from Middlesex University, UK with distinction. During his 13 years of banking career, he attended numerous seminars, training, and workshops in and out of the country.



Gender FinanceCovid-19