It seems like these days you can’t open a paper or scroll through twitter without being inundated with stories around diversity and inequality in companies. Banking and finance tends to be – sorry lads – one of the worst offenders, and it’s got me thinking about inclusion within these sectors.

I’m lucky to be part of a diverse team working within the fintech space, but I know many don’t have that luxury. That got our team wondering what we could do to address these problems, so we convened our F in Fintech panel last month. Our all-star panel, including Klarna, Monzo, OakNorth, RBS, and Starling Bank, gathered to ask: why is diversity still an issue? Are things improving? And what can we do about inequality, not just for women, but for anyone feeling marginalised within fintech.

While the panel covered a huge spectrum of issues from education to staffing quotas, one point, in particular, stood out to me. Rona Ruthen, Customer Operations Director at Monzo, remarked about the development of different mindsets from a young age: that, while boys and men are encouraged to seek adventure and take risks, women and girls are taught to be risk averse and demure. That ultimately feeds into how we work today, in an industry that – quite frankly – favours the bold.

Now, I don’t think any of my colleagues would describe me as ‘demure’, but it was notable to me just how much different mindsets, worldviews, or experiences bleed into the way we communicate and advocate – whether this is internal or external, and ultimately, how this creates a brand culture.

Case in point: Starling Bank. Anne Boden has built her brand based on inclusivity, and takes it as part of the job to go out and advocate for women in fintech. Her message seems pretty clear: ‘pale, male, and stale’ is out, and diverse teams are in.  

As consumers look to brands they can relate to and that promote positive messages, they’ll – by this very metric – look for companies that represent them. That means that brands need to have more diverse representation, both internally and externally, and communicate this to the outside world.

By promoting brand values as core to the business, fintechs and banking providers have the opportunity to engage more widely with consumers.

To download a summary from our recent panel event, click here.