Leader Dialogue Series
The SME Finance Forum’s Fireside Chat, now called "Leader Dialogues", is a new series of one-on-one interviews with CEOs, senior executives of financial institutions and technology companies as well as financial sector regulators.
Leaders interviewed in 2022
Aria Widyanto, Director & CRSO of Amartha
Learn from Aria Widyanto, Director & CRSO of Amartha, about Amartha’s shift toward fintech
Learn from Manfred Borer, CEO of Koltiva, about the integration of fintech in agribusiness during the COVID and post-COVID era.
Ongki Dana, President Director of BTPN
Learn from Ongki Dana, President Director & Commissioner of BTPN, about capacity building and the mindset-shift in SME Finance.
Robin Bairstow, Managing Director at I&M Bank
Learn from Robin Bairstow, Managing Director at I&M Bank about the future of SME Finance in Rwanda after the COVID pandemic.
Petr Polach, Head of Corporate and Sustainable Finance, Raiffeisen Bank International AG
Learn from Petr Polach, Head of Corporate and Sustainable Finance, Raiffeisen Bank International AG about the importance of ESG and his journey to apply these principles across the institution.
Leaders interviewed in 2021
Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC
Learn from Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) on building capacities for the future to strengthen the private sector and meet the financing gap.
Lori Kerr, CEO of FinDev Canada
Learn from Lori Kerr, CEO of FinDev Canada as the new kid on the block charting new territory in development finance.
Xiaodong Sun, Chief Risk Officer of MYbank
Learn from Xiaodong Sun, Chief Risk Officer of MYbank in China about the innovative risk management system developed by the bank that allowed them to minimize the default rate during the pandemic. Click here to watch>
Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank
Learn Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, about EIB's work with SMEs, and his vision for the future growth of SMEs. Click here to watch>
Andrée Simon, President and CEO of FINCA Impact Finance
Learn from Andrée Simon, President and CEO of FINCA Impact Finance, about the challenges of bringing people into the formal financial sector during COVID-19, and the critical need for preparation, transparency and communication to be ready to cope with crises. Click here to watch>
Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Member of IsDB Group
Learn from Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Member of IsDB Group, about his experience in Sharia-compliant financing, ethical standards and sustainability, and the importance of helping SMEs with the right funding during the pandemic. Click here to watch>
Paloma Tejada, Global Director of Agile, People and Communications, Client Solutions, BBVA
Learn from Paloma Tejada, Global Director of Agile, People and Communications, Client Solutions at BBVA about the cultural transformation of BBVA into an agile organization including staff and leadership, to provide better solutions for SMEs customers, and how diversity proves to have a positive impact on business. Click here to watch>
Leaders interviewed in 2020
John Gachora, Group Managing Director, NCBA Group PLC
Learn from John Gachora, Group Managing Director at NCBA Group PLC. about his journey to become a leader in the banking industry, digitization, and how NCBA Group became the largest bank in Africa serving SME clients with mobile financial services, especially in Kenya. Click here to watch>
Henry Ma, Chief Information Officer, WeBank
As China's first digital bank, WeBank offers underbanked individuals and SMEs various convenient and high-quality financial services. Learn more about Henry Ma's early career in the Silicon Valley, the unique 'ABCD' capabilities of WeBank as a fully digital bank, and the cost and quality of financial services while serving 1.3 million SME clients in China. Click here to watch>
Irene Arias, CEO of IDB Lab, (former FOMIN)
Founded as the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, IDB Lab drives innovation for inclusion and co-creates life-changing solutions for vulnerable people affected by economic, social, or environmental factors in Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about how IDB Lab accelerates digitization for SMEs in Latina America and the Caribbean, how they provide solutions to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, and why they value innovation labs. Click here to watch>
Joséphine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive for Commercial Banking, Ecobank
Ecobank is a Pan-African banking conglomerate present in 36 countries and a leading independent regional banking group in West and Central Africa, serving wholesale and retail customers. Learn more about Ecobank’s role in serving SMEs in scale across all the different markets, their approach to the commercial bank business, their partnership with Google, and the role of digitalization. Click here to watch>
Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Head of M-Pesa Africa Leadership Team
M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, payments and micro-financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone Group plc and Safaricom. Now M-Pesa is the largest mobile network operator in Kenya. Learn more about digital payments in Africa, how M-Pesa enabled SMEs and fintech communities to connect to the ecosystem, the impact of COVID-19 on access to working capital for SMEs, and the role of education on financial literacy. Click here to watch>
Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank
Access Bank is a Nigerian multinational commercial bank offering a full range of banking products and services in retail, business, and corporate banking segments. Learn more about Herbert Wigwe's experience dealing with the disruptions caused by the public health crisis and how Access Bank switched into a digital mode to protect their employees and customers. Click here to watch>
Michael Schlein, CEO of Accion
Accion is a global nonprofit leading the effort to improve the billions of lives through access to financial services and products. Learn more about Michael Schlein's decades of experience working with small business owners who are typically underserved by the big players in the finance industry, microfinance, moratoria, and the progress made at reducing global poverty. Click here to watch>
Selim Hussain, Managing Director and CEO of BRAC Bank
BRAC Bank is a private commercial bank in Bangladesh focused on SMEs. It was founded in 2001 to reach the large number of unbanked people whom traditional banks did not cover. Learn more about the role of digitalization in this era and how early decisions made in response to COVID-19 helped overcome the challenges and maintain business continuity. Prepare to hear a powerful story about how to turn even the most significant challenges into opportunities. Click here to watch>
Kathryn Petralia, Co-Founder and President, Kabbage
Kabbage has pioneered a financial services data and technology platform to provide access to automated funding to small businesses in minutes. Learn more about the latest developments in financing small and medium-sized enterprises. The conversation ranges over the US government-based Payment Protection Program, women in fintech, and the future of SME finance. Click here to watch>
Massimiliano Cattozzi, Executive Director and Head of Corporate and SME Commercial Department, Intesa Sanpaolo
With 11.9 million customers and over 4,500 branches in Italy, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, is the country’s leading banking group. Learn more about how Intesa Sanpaolo has expanded its business in the past years in Italy and how it became the first-mover to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviate the severe economic impact. Click here to watch>
Judy Hsu, CEO, Consumer, Private, and Business Banking (CPBB), Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group that operates across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to bank people and companies driving investment, trade, and wealth creation. Learn more about the impact of Covid-19 on the bank's business and the adaptations they have made. Judy Hsu also discusses the future of SME banking, partnerships with FinTechs and e-commerce platforms, the importance of diversity to the business, and what it is like to be a woman at the top of a traditionally male-dominated industry. Click here to watch>
Dr. Dae-Hee Yoon, Chairman and CEO, KODIT
KODIT is a Korean public financial institution that leads the development of the national economy by extending credit guarantees to promising SMEs which lack tangible collateral. Learn more about how KODIT has been pushing for data and platform-based financial innovation to keep up with the changes from the digital transformation, as well as their support to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and help SMEs overcome the pandemic. Click here to watch>
Philippe Le Houérou, IFC's former CEO
As a member of the World Bank Group, IFC is the largest global development institution advancing economic development and improving the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries. Learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected IFC's activities, how IFC has been coping with those impacts and IFC's collaboration with existing clients and partners during the pandemic. Philippe Le Houérou also shares his expectations of the future IFC and his opinions of globalization and geopolitics. Click here to watch>