In the Blog

Banks for women

November 2nd, 2007     by Zoe Cormier     Comments

Check out this piece from The Guardian about a new trend in finance: “female-oriented” banking, which “is not about frivolity and bows but profit and the bottom line.” Emotion Banking’s chief executive, Christian Rauscher, says that until now banks have failed to tap into the lucrative female market. “Fifty-one per cent of [banking] clients worldwide are female … more women are standing on their own feet and deciding their own finances … [banks] tend to address men in their communication, which is not necessarily the best way to be successful.”

The article is pretty vague about exactly what female-oriented banking actually looks like, or how it differs from “conventional” banking. Catherine Tillotson, a partner at the wealth management consultancy Scorpio Partnership, says private banks are often guilty of “wrap[ping] up their services in pink … now it’s becoming [clearer] the issue is not about whether women should be treated differently. [Banks need] a different marketing approach, rather than different service.”

I don’t think I like the idea that women require different banking services or different marketing strategies compared to men. And I kind of find it a bit, um, weird that the consultancy firm first mentioned is called Emotion Banking - is my savings account supposed to ask me about my feelings when I make a withdrawal because I have ovaries?

But the article does mention some heartening stats: A 2006 Centre for Economic Business Research study estimated 53% of millionaires are likely to be female in 2020 … [Morevoer], the wealth gap between males and females is narrowing. In 2006, the average female millionaire was worth #1.97m, while the figure for men was #2.96m. This compares with #1.28m for women in 1998 and #2.71m for males … No longer reliant on divorce settlements or inheritances, women are now making their own money. Some 38% of Coutts’ clients gained wealth through salary, 19% did so from their spouse, 7% inherited it and the remainder acquired it through unknown means.

The article also mentions some Canadian figures:

As in Britain, Canadian women’s financial power is growing: between 1991 and 2001, women’s self-employment grew 43%, and there are some 821,000 female entrepreneurs in Canada, contributing in excess of C$18bn (#8.58bn) to the economy.

We’re not quite there yet - but nice to know we’re on our way.

Tags: on the job

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