Social Banking

We believe that growth must be inclusive, so basic financial products and money advice must be available to everyone.

What does Social Banking mean to us? What do we want to achieve with it and who does it help?

Watch this video and learn why Social Banking is not just a service we offer, but rather an integral part of our identity.

Rooted in our history

In the seven countries where Erste Group operates, there are around 15.9 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Offering basic banking services to each of them, was one of the main reasons for the founding of Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse in 1819. It also remains our sole purpose and responsibility, as one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe.

At Erste, we’re focused on being a healthy and profitable business, but also believe in empowering people in their financial lives and helping to spread prosperity in our region”, quotes Andreas Treichl, CEO of Erste Group Bank AG.

An example of this can be seen in the story of the Cafe Vollpension, where different generations work together.

Watch the story ...

We support

´Step-by-step´ is Erste Group’s new approach to the development of Social Banking, which focuses on
making an impact in our societies by:

  • Improving financial stability and inclusion for people on low incomes
  • Enabling job creation and self-employment by financially supporting beginning entrepreneurs
  • Fostering development and enlarging the impact of social organization

Through our network of local banks and partnership with other organisations and NGOs, we provide our customers not only with tailored products, but also with financial literacy and advice, business education and mentoring. We can therefore support them in their maturement, and in making wise financial decisions.

This creates a sustainable base for improving clients’ economic situations and helping them achieve financial stability in the long term.




Step-by-step is a program meant to support social organisations, starting entrepreneurs and people on low income, by creating a service and offer that are fitting their needs.

People on low incomes

Access to basic financial products for people on low incomes is widely recognized as a critical element in reducing poverty.

Financial inclusion empowers people to cope with unexpected financial encounters and in managing future risks more efficiently.

Therefore we provide customers on low incomes not only with current accounts, savings accounts and accessible loans, but also with basic financial literacy and mentoring on how to manage budgets appropriately (e.g. how to save money, what are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ loans, how to manage a household budget effectively).

Old people sitting on a bench
Young farmer with vegetables

Starting entrepreneurs

One of the most difficult tasks for starting entrepreneurs, is raising the necessary finances to get their business ideas up and running, keeping them afloat and developing them. This is especially vital for those without sound business skills.

We believe that small entrepreneurs not only provide financial stability for their families, but often create new jobs and expand the businesses into their communities, influencing others and resulting in the economic growth of entire areas.

We provide access to financial assistance for starting entrepreneurs in order to support new job establishments by giving them access to micro-loans, business training courses and mentoring.

Social organisations

Many NGOs and social entrepreneurs, who deal with some of the most challenging issues in our society, have poor access to financial products. This is due to risky business models that are unattractive to mainstream banks, scant support from the state and difficulty in accessing EU subsidies.

We are here to financially support them and thus enabling them to expand their services and outreach. This is then followed by capacity building programs and ongoing mentoring. We also provide aid in testing the sustainability of  business models and in obtaining the required skills for independent growth.

To meet their needs, we provide working capital loans, bridging loans and investment facility loans.

People grabbing food

Client stories

We are excited about the stories of our clients. Watch them here:

Banking that matters: Erste Group measures impact of its Social Banking activities

  • Social Banking activities helped to create and preserve almost 45.000 jobs across CEE
  • Since its launch, 30,000 clients were supported with financing, education and/or mentoring
  • Erste Social Banking supports starting entrepreneurs, microfinance businesses, social organisations and people in financial difficulties
  • Financing efforts are combined with financial education to ensure sustainable financial well-being

Please contact

Please feel free to contact your local partner for more detailed information about projects and products.

For group-wide information to products and the project you can contact Erste Group Team:

Peter Šurek

Head of Social Banking Development