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 ...
´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).
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.
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.
We are excited about the stories of our clients. Watch them here:
Zweite Sparkasse, Austria
The husband was gone, the debts still there. Jutta faced her financial problems with the support of Zweite Sparkasse. Today she is debt free and happy again.
Cafe Vollpension, Austria
By 2060 Vienna will hold a share of 23% elderly people. Nowadays there is a great deal of ambiguity in society towards the attitude between the aged and youth: many people perceive a lack of understanding on both sides. The stereotype of old age is still wrongly related to dependency, sickness, loneliness and social isolation. What it takes to change this stereotype is an honest dialogue between the generations within the right environment.
Květné zahrady (Flower garden), Czech Republic
Children may experience a range of emotional, psychological and physical problems and trauma as a result of being abused or neglected. They are more likely than others to have lack of self-esteem and distrust of adults, to be self-destructive or aggressive. In some cases this may lead to abuse of drugs or alcohol, or becoming young offenders or homeless.
Meet Ferdinand Raditsch Director of the Květné zahrady (Flower garden), an organization engaged in the provision of social services and work with vulnerable children and youth at-risk.
Family Lulu and Domnica Stoian, Romania
Beside the good times in life, there are also bad times. The Stoian family has faced them both. But they have never given up fighting, knowing that they have each other and their family by their side and can overcome any obstacle as long as they are together.
BCR Social banking over-indebted advisory is dedicated to supporting and educating financially distressed families and individuals to improve their money management skills. Thus it is empowering and helping them to achieve financial stability step-by-step.
Housing Project for socially excluded people, Slovakia
The Housing Project for socially excluded in Slovakia aims to enable and empower people from the Roma community to build their own houses by providing them access to tailor-made purpose loans. An important part of this project is the financial literacy training and mentoring; to become eligible for the financing families have to build savings for one year. During this time they also get building skills training, so that they can be able to build the house by themselves. Meet Adriana and Igor and find out why they decided to join this project and how challenging it is to change stereotypes.
Eco-hostel "Republik”, Serbia
Marko Ristovski is an owner of the Eco-hostel "Republik” in Uzice, Serbia. He is developing his sustainable business idea with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. “At first, not many people believed in my idea. Yet, in the end, I succeeded - we are now, opening our second hostel!” Watch the video and see how he is contributing to the community and the development of the tourism in his own town.
Maria Căşmăşan lives in Leurda with her husband Ioan and her children Raul and Raluca. They have a flock of sheep counting 500 heads from which they produce lamb meat, milk and cheese. “Originally we’ve started the business to raise money to move to the city. Meanwhile we decided to finish our house, arrange a nice place here and have a decent, quiet living. Watch her story and find out why.
Rehabilitation centre, Hungary
Erzsi Szekeres is mother of a disabled boy and founder of Rehabilitation centre in Csömör. Thirty years ago it was the first non-profit organisation in Hungary. Back then, even the experts did not believe that disabled people can work. Learn more about her personal story and how she established not only a working place, but also a home and family environment for these people.
Organic baby clothes, Croatia
“I have always wanted to start my own company”, says Silvija Celjak, a young innovative woman producing baby clothes and accessories out of organic cotton and bamboo fabric that is a novelty on the Croatian market. “Believe in yourself! Never give up on your dreams, you have to be persistent and fight for what you want!" Watch her entrepreneurial story and find out more about her motivation.
Social Banking - How do we make it grow?
Neratov association, Czech Republic
Neratov association supports people with mental disabilities using the profits from its hotel, laundry, a pub and a garden centre to foster their social reintegration.
Amaro Records, Czech Republic
Social enterprise, a community and music commercial studio, offering services and music workshops for youth.
Smišek, Czech Republic
Integration kindergarten providing services to socially disadvantaged children.
Social Trade, Czech Republic
Social enterprise providing cleaning services via app and employing socially disadvantaged people.
Vzajemne souziti, Czech Republic
Education services and integration activities for Roma children.
Banking that matters: Erste Group measures impact of its Social Banking activities