Founded in 1980 in Cali, Colombia, the institution operated until 2012 as Fundación WWB Colombia, a non-governmental (NGO) microfinance institution (MFIs) and the first affiliate to the Women’s World Banking (WWB) Network in Colombia.   Banco W remains a member of the WWB Network but WWB is not currently involved with the operations of Banco W in any formal capacity.  In 2010 the Fundación underwent a transformation to become Banco W S.A, a commercial bank, operating under the regulations of the Superintendencia Financiera (SF, the financial supervisor).  

As part of OPTIX, Banco W is working on developing and implementing new channel strategy, rationalizing current savings products to provide clear value proposition and introducing a Financial Services Advisory tool. 



Institution type: Commercial Bank

Year founded: 1980

Country: Colombia

City: Cali

Client type: Low-Income 




Improve Internal Staff Training & Communications: Banco W wanted to improve the way credit officers communicate with clients. BFA supported the bank by facilitating the hiring of a training organization and determining the content and presentation of an advisory app, linking with the IT vendor and facilitating the organization of credit officers training.  A total of 64 8-hours long workshops were delivered nationwide. 1,300 employees took part in the workshop including loan officers, branch managers, zonal managers and regional managers.

Increase Savings Balances with a two-way messaging service: Banco W has partnered with Juntos Finanzas, a startup specialized in boosting customer engagement via two-way messaging interactions via SMS, to increase customers savings balances and improve overall customer engagement. The pilot just launched with an experiment group amongst Banco W savings clients. They will engage with almost all of Banco W savings clients dividing them in an experiment and control group to determine the success of the messaging strategies.

Multi-wallet Debit-Credit Card Product: Banco W is in the process of developing a card product that ties to a savings account and a credit line. In addition, it has fixed monthly installment that can be divided into two applications: to repay any outstanding debt (principal plus interest) and to save. In order to promote long term savings, the bank only allows the savings account funds to be accessed via an in person withdrawal at a bank’s branch. Purchases with the card, on the other hand, are necessarily financed through the credit line.

Develop and implement a new channel strategy:  BFA advised on Banco W’s ADC strategy and accompanied W to Equity Bank in 2016 to learn more about their channel strategy and success to date. As a result, the bank made significant changes to their strategy and hired an Head of ADC department. The bank is still working to increase the number of agent points and improve cross-selling at the agent locations.

Rationalizing savings products to provide clear propositions to clients:  BFA held a business case workshop to work through account opening and servicing costs in detail with product managers and finance team. BFA ran analysis to identify high costs centers, revisit processes to improve and cost-allocations. BFA also ran pilots to test which marketing messages are most effective in incentivizing savings at various branches. Results were mixed as it seemed that direct messages to customers at the pilot branches did not result in significant improvements in the amounts saved by customers.


Embracing Change Management to Better Serve Low-Income Customers


BFA Team Members