The Erste Group’s Social Banking program provides support to start-ups, micro-enterprises, social organizations, and individuals in financial difficulties. As a pioneering and leading bank in the social field in the Central and Eastern European region, the Erste Group has already disbursed nearly € 380 million in some 20,000 loan agreements to micro-enterprises, start-ups, and social organizations. Through its social banking activities, the Erste Group has provided financial, training, and mentoring assistance to more than 35,000 customers, and has also helped to create and maintain more than 45,000 jobs in Central and Eastern Europe.

Nowadays Erste Group helps social companies in Central and Eastern Europe by providing them with an emergency working capital loan at which the interest is paid by the Erste Foundation in 2021. The funding option was launched in May 2020 but it is extended until September 2021 due to demands from organizations. The Erste Group together with emergency working capital loans lent 14 million EUR in 2020 to more than a hundred socially beneficial businesses.

Banking, which matters: the Erste Group’s Social Banking program has achieved significant results. 

“Many non-profit organizations noticed the possibilities in crisis and have made efforts in areas like digitization as well as started looking for new orders, or just looking for new forms of funding. For others, however, this period manifests primarily only as a crisis. That is why we have decided to help NGOs bear the interest burden. Their work is vital to ensure the full recovery of society following the coronavirus epidemic.” said Mario Catasta, Chairman of the Board at the Erste Foundation.

“Erste Bank Hungary’s Social Banking program is proud of its customers, who not only stick to their goals but are also brave to start in difficult times. As a partner, Erste Social Banking helped them with the Covid loan, which supported the organizations’ finances with an interest rebate, ”added Orsolya Szalay, Head of Social Banking at Erste Bank.

Socially beneficial businesses have used interest-free credit to provide support to the most vulnerable groups in their communities, even during a coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the interest-free loan Hungarian Symbiosis Foundation was able to provide care for about 40 people living and working on the farm during the pandemic and could continue building another guest house to accommodate families with disabled children. Milan Vano, Managing Director of the Slovak Agro-drevinový ecosystem BBSK said that because of the interest-free loan the social enterprise was able to avoid extra cash flow costs and further develop the business even during the pandemic.

Source: Erste Bank Group’s Press Release from 22.03.2021