Social Banking

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

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 everyone was one of the main reasons for the founding of Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse in 1819. This remains our purpose and our 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.

One example of this is the story of Maria Căşmăşan from Romania. She 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.

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 financing starting entrepreneurs
  • Fostering development and enlarging the impact of social organizations

Through our network of local banks, and also in partnership with other organisations and NGOs, we provide our customers not only with tailored products, but also with financial literacy and money advice, business education and mentoring to support them in growing and making wise financial decisions in the future.

This will create 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 better with unexpected financial shocks and manage future risks better.

Therefore we provide customers on low incomes not only with current accounts, savings accounts and accessible loans, but also with basic financial literacy and accompanying 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 finance to get their business idea up and running, keep it afloat or grow it, especially for those without sound business skills.

We believe that small entrepreneurs not only provide financial stability for their families, but they often create new jobs and expand the business with their communities.

We provide access to finance for starting entrepreneurs to support job creation by giving them access to micro-loans, business training courses and mentoring.

Social organisations

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

We are here to finance them and thus enable them to expand their services and outreach. This is followed by capacity building programs and ongoing mentoring, and help in testing the sustainability of their business models and obtaining the relevant skills.

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

People grabbing food

Client stories

Please contact

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

Austria Czech Republic Slovakia Hungary Romania Serbia Croatia
Erste Bank Oesterreich
Günter Benischek
Česká spořitelna
Otto Mach
Slovenská sporiteľňa
Rastislav Blažej
Banca Comercială Română
Stefan Ionut Buciuc
Erste Bank Hungary
Orsolya Szalay
Erste Bank Croatia
Tina Sirotić
Erste Bank Serbia
Sreten Vranić

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

Peter Šurek

Head of Social Banking Development
+43 (0)5 0100 - 13726 

Florian Ott
+43 (0)5 0100 - 19413