“The savings and retail banking story unfolds inside this handbook. It explains what is at stake for Europe.”

Helmut Schleweis

ESBG President

Foreword


Europe, our home, faces challenging times: a rapidly progressing climate change and difficult hurdles for economic and social stability. We face a world turning away from multilateralism – especially by some powerful nation states – coupled with fading co-operation being replaced by greater readiness for confrontation. At the same time, rapid technological changes offer opportunities, but digital disruptions cause for many people to fear being left behind. Taken together, these fundamental forces give profound reasons for defending the values of European integration and to stabilise and develop the European Union. Only by being united we will be able to defend our European way of life.

Savings and retail banks play an important role in holding strong to European values. With local roots, they have always contributed to build a stable society at times of profound change. Standing for the financial, economic and social participation of all, the nearly 900 savings and retail banks work together within the European Savings and Retail Banking Group – ESBG – to provide financial services to 150 million people in the European Union. They hold more than €1 trillion in loans to feed the real economy, the lion’s share of these loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. They employ more than 650,000 skilled people in 21 countries in Europe. Savings and retail banks make a substantial contribution to EU growth, stability and prosperity by weaving into the local and regional fabric.

Together, they form a major source of finance for people, households and families, small and medium-sized enterprises, community institutions and local infrastructure. A cornerstone of a properly functioning economic engine, they ensure modern banking services serve big cities, rural areas, and everywhere in between. Doing so fuels competition throughout Europe, which benefits people and fosters more equitable living conditions that bridge the urban-rural divide. By offering a broad range of financial education, they have provided Europeans assistance for decades – especially to young people – so that they can obtain better understanding of financial issues and take advantage of opportunities in an open Europe.

Foreword


Europe, our home, faces challenging times: a rapidly progressing climate change and difficult hurdles for economic and social stability. We face a world turning away from multilateralism – especially by some powerful nation states – coupled with fading co-operation being replaced by greater readiness for confrontation. At the same time, rapid technological changes offer opportunities, but digital disruptions cause for many people to fear being left behind. Taken together, these fundamental forces give profound reasons for defending the values of European integration and to stabilise and develop the European Union. Only by being united we will be able to defend our European way of life.

Savings and retail banks play an important role in holding strong to European values. With local roots, they have always contributed to build a stable society at times of profound change. Standing for the financial, economic and social participation of all, the nearly 900 savings and retail banks work together within the European Savings and Retail Banking Group – ESBG – to provide financial services to 150 million people in the European Union. They hold more than €1 trillion in loans to feed the real economy, the lion’s share of these loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. They employ more than 650,000 skilled people in 21 countries in Europe. Savings and retail banks make a substantial contribution to EU growth, stability and prosperity by weaving into the local and regional fabric.

Together, they form a major source of finance for people, households and families, small and medium-sized enterprises, community institutions and local infrastructure. A cornerstone of a properly functioning economic engine, they ensure modern banking services serve big cities, rural areas, and everywhere in between. Doing so fuels competition throughout Europe, which benefits people and fosters more equitable living conditions that bridge the urban-rural divide. By offering a broad range of financial education, they have provided Europeans assistance for decades – especially to young people – so that they can obtain better understanding of financial issues and take advantage of opportunities in an open Europe.

Helmut Schleweis

ESBG President

“The savings and retail banking story unfolds inside this handbook. It explains what is at stake for Europe.”