NBS BANK BANKS ON WOMEN
Globally, women are disproportionately excluded from formal financial systems, making up more than half of the world’s unbanked population. In Malawi, most of the unbanked are underprivileged women in peri-urban and rural areas. Factors that contribute to the lack of access to financial services for this segment include: the absence of formal financial institutions within their communities, the high cost of maintaining a bank account, complicated requirements for account opening, and illiteracy, among others. However, financial inclusion is recognised as a vehicle for economic empowerment and it is with this view that NBS Bank is making a deliberate effort to enable women to access affordable banking services so that they can actively participate in the social and economic development of the country. Notable in these efforts is the Pafupi Savings Account, which was developed to drive inclusive banking with a specific focus on women. The account allows women who were previously excluded from formal banking to save and grow their money. The Pafupi Savings Account was developed with financial support from MicroLead, a UNCDF global initiative which is supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard Foundation and LIFT Myanmar and with technical expertise from Women’s World Banking.
The baseline survey of the Pafupi Savings Account development revealed that in Malawi, women are the household financial managers and savers, and prioritise how earned money is allocated. Not only do they manage jointly generated income, but when they earn money independently from their husbands, they manage this money autonomously. Malawian women often identify themselves as providers and have an expected role in saving for the family’s future, making them an important segment in the country’s efforts towards socio-economic development.
Internally, NBS Bank has made a deliberate effort to bridge the gender gap in the organization, especially at a leadership level, and has one of the most gender balanced staff compliments in the industry. Currently, the leadership team at senior and executive management levels includes a significant number of young, talented women who are driving the transformation of the Bank with new and innovative ideas in their various capacities.
It is in keeping with the goals stated above that NBS Bank joins the rest of the world in celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
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