Non-Financial Services: The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises for Banks


Women-led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) represent a great opportunity to banks: women own 34 percent of private businesses globally, including almost six million formal SMEs in the developing world. Yet WSMEs’ enormous potential remains largely untapped due to systemic barriers facing women-led enterprises globally.  Providing nonfinancial services (NFS) alongside finance is an effective means for financial institutions to tap into the enormous potential of women-led enterprises.

In collaboration with IFC and FMO, ConsumerCentriX is proud to announce the release of the publication “Non-Financial Services: The Key to Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women-led Small and Medium Enterprises for Banks.”

Based on newly minted research, this publication examines the benefits to banks of integrating NFS that can help mitigate these barriers into a women-focused SME banking proposition. As part of the study, ConsumerCentriX surveyed 34 banks worldwide on their approach to and measurement of nonfinancial services, with a focus on their offerings to businesses owned by women.

KCB Bank: Focusing on Women SMEs and non-financial services is a win-win for all

Non-financial services were instrumental in growing Patricia Mwangi’s business in Kenya

NFS from her bank helped Wanjiru Mbugua turn a side hustle into a thriving business

Intensive analysis of five SME banking models, in addition to the survey results, previously published case studies, and other resources, found that well-integrated NFS offers for WSMEs yield positive return on investment (ROI) within one to two years. This is demonstrated through four key metrics: increased interest income; share of wallet, which includes cross-sell, deposit volume and fee income, including fees charged for NFS participation; loyalty; and reduced risk.

The publication also identifies four best practices in design and execution of WSME-focused NFS, which banks looking to capitalize on this opportunity can follow:

  1. Tailor the proposition to the needs and profiles of different customer segments
  2. Provide an integrated, one-stop experience for financial and non-financial services
  3. Build institutional alignment to drive results
  4. Integrate measurement into program design and delivery

Alongside Cathleen Tobin, ConsumerCentrix’s Anna Gincherman and Benedikt Wahler served as primary authors to the report. Their efforts were supported by the broader ConsumerCentriX team, including Istvan Szepesy and Dora Solymos for data analytics and Ana Singh for video production and report design. “We hope that key insights from the report will encourage banks to expand their value propositions for women enterprises and invest in strengthening NFS ecosystems for WSMEs,” said Gincherman.