Here at Spotcap, we believe that we are playing an important role in supporting business owners to live their vision, all the while promoting a more responsible and fair financial landscape. In light of International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to weigh in on the conversation being had around fintech improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs. We decided to take a closer look at our credit assessment team which is on the front line of financial accessibility and get their take on gender and credit assessment.
It just so happens that our credit assessment department is also one of our most gender-balanced departments. Our credit assessment teams in both the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom are 66 percent women—and with all of our markets considered—our credit assessment department is approaching gender parity. While we still have a way to go in terms of gender balance, we do think it’s a story worth sharing and a step towards achieving #BalanceforBetter in the financial services industry.
Women entrepreneurs are enjoying greater access to finance thanks to fintechs that are leveraging technology which enables more comprehensive and gender-blind approaches to credit assessment. Relying more on the data, fintechs are chipping away at some of the hurdles which prevent women-owned businesses from accessing finance. The result? Data-driven credit assessment practices are giving women-owned businesses a better shot at obtaining the finance needed to start and sustain businesses.
We recently sat down with a few of our underwriters—Julie Houttequiet, Silvia Delgado, and Ivana Pelcmanova—to discuss why it’s important for women to take an equal share in fintech and how the industry as a whole is cultivating a better financial landscape for women.
Spotcap: We have some of the quickest and most accurate credit assessing technology in the industry but there will always be a need for human assessors to make the final decision. And it’s important to us who makes those decisions. What makes a good credit assessor?
Julie: While analysing numbers, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Technology makes our lives easier and enables us to more quickly interpret business financials but an algorithm can’t understand the story of a business, or the full picture. As a credit assessor, you need to be constantly focused, open-minded and flexible in your thinking.
Spotcap: Our credit assessors act as the gatekeepers for business owners who are seeking finance for their businesses. With this in mind, why is it important that there be a gender-balanced mix of assessors at financial firms?
Silvia: Gender-balanced teams are an asset for every company, but especially so in the financial sector. Financial firms tend to be led by men, but given the statistics that women are the ‘money managers’ in the majority of households, they know a thing or two about money and risk management. Despite that, they simply aren’t being represented. A gender mix in teams of assessors promotes a diversity of perspectives which ultimately leads to better decisions.
Spotcap: Finance is a sector that has skewed predominantly male—why is it important that the industry strike a better gender balance from within?
Ivana: I hope that the stereotype of a financial sector that skews male will soon be a thing of the past. Strides in the right direction are being made with more women joining the sector. Why should we care about the gender balance in the sector you ask? Women and men bring different qualities to the table and diversity of these qualities is necessary for the sector to better serve its diverse customer base. The same holds true in assessing loan applications—it’s important that both men and women have equal responsibility in financial decisions.
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Originally published March 6 2019 , updated March 7 2019