The Women to Watch: No. 7, HSBC's Cate Luzio

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Global Head of International Subsidiary Banking, HSBC

If a fledgling apparel company has a million followers on Facebook and Instagram but not much in the way of revenue, is it a good credit risk?

Conversely, should a bank think twice about making a loan to an established retailer that generates decent profits but has a negligible presence on social media?

Cate Luzio contends that these are questions bankers need to consider as they evaluate the creditworthiness of corporate clients, particularly those that sell directly to consumers. In the age of social media, sales — whether in-store or online — tell only part of a company’s story and banks that fail to understand this dynamic “do so at their own peril,” said Luzio, the global head of international subsidiary banking at HSBC.

Luzio leads roughly 900 bankers worldwide who serve 33,000 subsidiaries of large multinationals. She travels extensively, placing a premium on connecting bankers in far-flung countries with each other to serve HSBC’s broad clientele.

Luzio is equally passionate about supporting the careers of women, inside and outside her company. She is a co-founder of two networking groups at HSBC that aim to develop female leaders, and she serves on the board of Girls Inc., a nonprofit devoted to increasing educational opportunities for young women from disadvantaged communities. She also has organized a series of women’s career development leadership conferences around the globe for HSBC’s clients.

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Much as she believes Instagram and Facebook can be valuable for evaluating business opportunities, Luzio said that social media is giving women a voice that they didn’t have a decade ago. Luzio herself has more than 3,000 followers on LinkedIn, where she often posts materials related to gender equality.

“I see social media making girls more confident and more willing to stand up for what they believe in,” she said.

This article originally appeared in American Banker.
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Commercial banking Retail industry Cate Luzio HSBC