It turns out banks and financial services institutions are missing out on a £133bn opportunity by ignoring women

Emma Haslett
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Banks and other financial services institutions are missing out by ignoring women (Source: Getty)

The financial services sector is unwittingly ignoring women "at every major step along the customer journey" - and missing out on £133bn a year by doing so.

Research by Kantar has suggested banks, insurers and other City institutions overlook female customers' needs at every point, from advertising for new clients to engaging current ones to persuading people to save or borrow mortgages.

That means women have less confidence in their banks, save less, and take a more conservative approach when it comes to investing and borrowing mortgages, the research suggested.

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Bad first impressions

The first significant area where institutions are missing out is advertising: Kantar used facial recognition technology to discover financial institutions fail to communicate trustworthiness, understanding, dependability and accessibility to women.

That is compounded during the first interaction, when relationship managers at financial institutions "often project unwelcoming, self-interested personalities".

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Low confidence

The bad start dents women's confidence in their financial institutions, the research found, with 65 per cent saying they have "low confidence", compared with 55 per cent of men.

"Were financial institutions more engaging to women, and able to support women in increasing their confidence levels for saving and investing to the next decile, an incremental £133 billion would potentially be redirected to savings and investments," said the research.

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More responsible borrowers

Women not only make more responsible borrowers than men, the figures showed, but they take a more conservative approach to the barriers to home ownership, including deposit requirements, affordability and the extra costs.

They are also more attractive customers than men, with more savings, mortgage and insurance products than men, and they tend to be more loyal.

But the research suggested institutions focus on the "confident, rather than the competent" - missing out on even more opportunities.

"Women’s lower engagement is also a major factor behind their concerns and shortfalls in retirement income. Average men’s retirement savings, at £73,600, are three times greater than women’s, which average just £24,900," said Amy Cashman, managing director of Kantar's financial services and technology practice.

"This makes improved engagement of women in the financial sector a social imperative as well as commercial opportunity."

Read more: Nearly three quarters of women don't consider a career in tech

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