"The ongoing global crisis is confronting all of us – as individuals and families, but also as countries and regions, employees and businesses - with challenges that none of us could have imagined just a few weeks ago.
What started as a health crisis has evolved into an unprecedented economic crisis, as necessary lockdown measures have smothered both supply and demand in markets across the world. We have no blueprint for how to deal with a situation like this, except common sense. No country, no region and no sector is exempt from the impact of this pandemic – all of us truly are in this together.
There’s never a good time for a global crisis like the one we’re experiencing. But the states in Central and Eastern Europe did their macroeconomic homework over the past years. As a result, our CEE region is much better positioned to face the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis than it had been during the financial crisis a decade ago.
We at Erste Group are also entering this crisis from a position of strength. We are a strongly capitalized financial group with a business model that has proven its merits and a well-balanced loan portfolio marked by strong asset quality. As we help our clients respond to this crisis, we can draw on the strong standing of our subsidiary banks in what will continue to be Europe’s growth region, on the competitive advantage of our digital banking platform George, and on our excellent liquidity position.
Let there be no doubt about it: A very challenging year lies ahead of all of us. But let there also be no doubt about Erste’s commitment to help its customers get through these difficult times. We will do so via streamlined application processes for repayment standstills and state-guaranteed loans, through countless individual advisory sessions, and on the basis of effective cooperation with governments, regulators, and all our stakeholders. We will do so because we are deeply committed to our region and believe in its people and businesses, their enduring potential, and their promising future on the other side of this crisis," says Bernd Spalt, CEO of Erste Group Bank AG.