CEE’s best bank for corporate responsibility 2023: Erste Group
Good perceptions of corporate social responsibility have become ever more important for banks in central and eastern Europe since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Thankfully, Erste Group has not had the stigma of owning a bank in Russia. This is a group that has demonstrated an awareness of the social impact of its presence in central and eastern Europe, not least given the high proportion of the population at risk of poverty in countries such as Romania and Serbia where it owns retail banks.
By the end of 2022, Erste’s social banking division had provided €485 million in funding since its launch in 2016, during the latter part of the long tenure of former chief executive Andreas Treichl, now chairman of the Erste Foundation.
That funding has included €191 million in startup loans to help self-employed people start new businesses, often from positions of unemployment, to which it has added training and networking help.