CEE’s best bank for corporate responsibility 2021: ProCredit Group
The award for the region’s best bank for corporate responsibility recognizes the holistic commitment to responsible banking of SME lender ProCredit Group.
Founded in 2003 to provide finance to smaller and micro enterprises across southeastern and eastern Europe, the German group subsequently adapted its strategy to focus on the core SME segment, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of employment and 63% of value added in its countries of operation.
The rationale for the shift was partly commercial – as well as being high-risk, the micro segment was becoming overbanked – but also reflected the desire of ProCredit’s shareholders and management to support the real economy and avoid encouraging over-indebtedness among financially unsophisticated populations.
For the same reason, the group made the decision to exit the retail lending market that has proved so lucrative for other CEE banks in recent years. Loans to SMEs today make up 94% of ProCredit’s portfolio, with housing loans accounting for nearly all of the remainder.