Marcio Orlandi and Maria Fuentes: "Diversity is not a value for a specific day or month but an ongoing daily commitment"

Marcio Orlandi and Maria Fuentes are co-founders of Pride Bank, a digital bank focused on Brazil’s LGBT community. In this interview, Mr. Orlandi and Ms. Fuentes discuss the statistics related to violence against minorities in Brazil, the social impact of Pride Bank and the diversity and inclusion which exists within their financial institution, amongst other topics.

Publicado Tuesday, December 14th 2021
Marcio Orlandi and Maria Fuentes: "Diversity is not a value for a specific day or month but an ongoing daily commitment"

Leaders League: Pride Bank describes itself as the first LGBTI+ digital bank in the world and was founded in a country with some of the world’s highest rates of violence against LGBTI+ individuals. What are the bank’s main operational challenges before this scenario? And how can it help to change this reality?

[Maria] As an LGBTI+ activist and community volunteer for many years, I was involved in several initiatives and always noticed how difficult it is for NGOs, collective groups, and associations to find support for the cause and funds from companies. Hence, the idea of creating Pride Bank, to generate money for these initiatives.

[Marcio] As Pride Bank grows and, consequently, the resources raised for social causes increase, our main challenge will be the management of the Pride Institute, which will be responsible for selecting the social causes to be helped, supporting and following-up with them, and defining public calls to action according to priority issues.

 

Pride Bank supports and finances several initiatives related to the LGBTI+ community. How do these actions fit into the company's social purpose? What have been the practical impacts of these initiatives so far?

[Marcio] Pride Bank was established precisely for this purpose, to transform the panorama of social initiatives focused on the LGBTI+ community. We are just starting out, and this pandemic has delayed our growth plans and, consequently, our direct impact on the community. However, our first actions are already underway, and we intend to have many more in the future.

[Maria] Additionally, we aim to raise awareness among the maximum number of people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. We seek to promote everyone’s well-being without prejudice of origin, race, sex, color, age, creed, social condition, profession, or any other form of discrimination. We defend the freedom of sexual orientation, gender identity, and the creation of a free, fair, and solidary society. Additionally, we will work towards the eradication of poverty, the social inclusion of the excluded and reducing existing inequalities.

Pride Bank's rates are highly competitive for any client, LGBTI+ or not

Pride Bank’s card machines offer special rates for LGBTI+ merchants. What other benefits does the bank offer to entrepreneurs who work with or are part of this community?

[Marcio] Pride Bank's rates are highly competitive for any client (LGBTI+ or not) and are negotiated individually, depending on the type and size of the business. 

[Maria] And, in the future, Pride Bank plans to start acting in other segments that will serve entrepreneurs working with financing, investments, and other secors.

 

Women in the banking sector are paid 21% less than men, according to a survey by the National Command of Bank Employees. How does Pride Bank address this gender inequality issue at a corporate level? And how can this inequality be overcome?

[Marcio] As we are a bank focused on diversity, we could not have different values internally, so as Pride Bank grows, diversity and inclusion will not be optional but mandatory at all levels for our staff.

 

We frequently see corporate diversity initiatives on special dates, such as Women's Day, Black Consciousness Day, or Sexual Diversity Month. How can companies embrace the promotion of equality as a permanent corporate policy and not just on specific dates?

[Marcio] Our primary focus is the LGBTI+ community, therefore, as far as we’re concerned diversity is not a theme for a specific day or month but an ongoing commitment, for every day and every hour. Of course, special moments and dates can always be the subject of more specific initiatives, but diversity is something which is built as a daily practice.

[Maria] Hence, Pride Bank, in partnership with the Brazilian Bar Association’s Jabaquara branch, developed the movement #NotOnlyJune to raise societal awareness regarding the fact that these actions should occur throughout the year. The more people and companies are involved, the higher the impact for this community, which deserves our respect and care. We will not let Pride Month be used only to improve the image of brands. #NotOnlyJune.

We will not let Pride Month be used only to improve the corporate image of brands

What news can we expect from Pride Bank in the next 12 months?

[Marcio] Our vision for Pride Bank has always been to become an ecosystem of products and services rethought for the LGBTI+ Community in Brazil. Therefore, we have several projects in different stages of development. 

[Maria] We plan to launch our first products in the health and safety sector soon, such as health plans – via telemedicine, at first – dental plans and insurance conceived for the needs of our community.

[Marcio] And after this, we are considering acting on different fronts, such as investments, financing, foreign exchange, tourism, and others.

 

By: Danilo Motta