Covid-19 crisis: how ESBG members responded

Spanish savings and retail banks: society values work in the face of Covid-19 crisis

According to a survey carried out at a national level by the social research consultancy GAD3, the initiatives most valued among the population developed by the Spanish banking sector have been, among others: the advancement of pensions, the advance payment of unemployment benefits and the elimination of commissions at ATMs, with scores higher than 8 out of 10.

€21.9 billion granted in moratoriums

Also small and medium-sized companies, one of the groups most affected by the crisis, value positively the support received (scores higher than 7). CECA entities, which represent 31% of the Spanish financial sector, in August 2020 granted €28.4 billion within the framework of the guarantee programme established by the ICO (Spanish State Finance Agency). Among the exceptional actions aimed at contributing to the economy of families, the moratoriums on the payment of mortgages and consumer loans stand out, with the CECA entities having granted €21.9 billion at the end of August 2020.

The commitment to society is a hallmark of the entities associated with CECA, which have invested more than €135 million in social initiatives during the pandemic. Measures such as donations to food banks, cooperation in assistance programs for the distribution of food or the provision of telephone lines to serve the elderly are known by more than half of the population, who value them above 8, 5 points.

Spanish society also values positively the attention received by the CECA sector workforce, in accordance with the professionalism and commitment that the employees have shown during the crisis to continue offering an essential service to society. The entities associated with CECA kept open some 90% of the 10,804 branches that make up their network.

ESBG members' business model known as the 3 Rs .
Retail. Responsible. Regional.
€130 million allocated to help regions

Swift Covid-19 response in Italy

As the Italian government addressed the pandemic, ESBG Italian member “Associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio Spa”, or Acri Foundation, with its 13 member savings banks and 83 foundations, swiftly mobilised themselves to help 60 million people tackle the health emergency.

Since the crisis hit, individual member foundations allocated funds valued at more than €130 million to help their respective regions step in when need arises on the ground. For the most part, these resources were made immediately available for hospitals and healthcare companies to purchase much-needed intensive care unit systems, respirators, monitoring systems, beds for resuscitation and everything needed to respond to the emergency. Acri Foundation also supported non-profit and cultural organisations hit by the lockdown measures.

"We found in the local bank Carifermo an ideal partner to help overcome our corcerns."
Voucher campaign launched to support regional businesses

Extra measures matter at Austrian savings banks

The Austrian Savings Banks Association takes measures above and beyond the call of duty to help people manage and remain resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From donations to the Austrian Red Cross to launching a voucher campaign to support regional businesses, the association of savings banks finds creative ways to help the country's nearly 9 million people as well as several of the 330,000 small and medium-sized firms that employ some 2 million people nationwide. Vouchers bought from various companies are donated to those in need. This is done in coordination with aid organisations. The companies where the vouchers can be redeemed include high street retailers and grocers, bakeries, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, farmers and winegrowers, and taxi companies.

Vouchers bought from various companies are donated to those in need. This is done in coordination with aid organisations. The companies where the vouchers can be redeemed include high street retailers and grocers, bakeries, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, farmers and winegrowers, and taxi companies.

To support local associations committed to active work with youth, even in times of crisis, vouchers for products and services by local companies could be redeemed once government measures were lifted. The effort supports both local associations and the regional economy.

German savings banks: Staying connected

The 377 savings banks in Germany remain a strong partner for companies and private customers during the Coronacrisis. By the end of April alone, bank staff held some 1.4 million consultations with Corona-affected customers. Each meeting focuses mainly on maintaining the economic performance of customers and their companies and securing current liquidity requirements. Around 20 to 30% of these discussions resulted in changes to credit lines, suspension of interest or repayments or applications for promotional loans. Between 85 to 90% of customer requests could be fulfilled. In 159,000 cases, interest and principal payments were suspended for commercial customers until the end of April 2020.

€17 billion in new loans granted to companies, self-employed & private individuals

Other measures carried out included €17 billion in new loans granted to companies, self-employed and private individuals in March 2020. That is 22.3 percent more than in March 2019. In March 2020, €9.7 billion worth of new loans were granted to companies and the self-employed, 22.6 percent more than in the previous year. The remaining €6.9 billion went to private individuals. Some 270,000 deferrals have been made by Sparkasse customers of interest and principal payments as of 22 April 2020, including 127,000 private customers and 143,000 commercial customers.

Savings banks have applied for 7,674 loans for their customers from KfW, of which 7,125 have already been approved. Around half of all applications for KfW loans come from companies and the self-employed who are looked after by savings banks. Savings banks have increased their capacity for contactless payments while the upper limit of a contactless transaction was raised to €50.

€1 billion support plan for the public hospital sector

Helping fight Covid-19 in France: Savings banks help hospitals

The leading private financier in the public hospital sector in France, savings banks– referred to as Caisses d'Epargne – mobilise to respond to new challenges linked to the health crisis brought on by Covid-19. To do this, they are implementing a large-scale financial support plan for the public hospital sector. This €1 billion support plan includes: cash loans available within 48 hours; a medium-and long-term financing offer; and a credit solution for very long-term investment needs over periods of up to 40 years.

The health crisis faced by France during Covid-19 highlights the essential role of public health establishments and their staff. The unprecedented mobilisation of public hospitals is profoundly changing their activities and, consequently, their revenue system. Faced with this situation, short-term financing needs have been raised to support the exceptional expenses brought on by the pandemic, and, subsequently, the heavier investments that will be necessary for hospital infrastructure.