Impact Assessment of Erste Group's Social Banking Initiative
With the Social Banking Initiative, ERSTE Group has launched a programme that aims to support those people who have not had access to banking services so far. The project promotes the financial inclusion of low-income individuals, business start-ups as well as social organisations and wants to help these groups to build their own prosperity in the future and break out of the poverty trap. The aim is to provide financial stabilization and thus achieve positive (social) impacts for the following target groups:
Working poor: These are persons who live on or below the poverty line despite working. These people are exposed to a high degree of financial instability and can easily fall into a debt trap or go bankrupt. The Social Banking Programme aims to provide more stability in this area with know-how, tailor-made savings measures and accessible loans.
Older people who only receive a low pension can hardly draw on savings if they have to make unexpected expenses. In addition, many banks find it difficult to trust them when it comes to taking out loans or credit. Again, the programme aims to achieve their financial stability through know-how, individual savings measures and accessible loans.
Start-ups: Especially in Central and Eastern European countries unemployment is one of the biggest socio-economic challenges. This can be counteracted by creating new jobs in new companies. The programme aims to help new entrepreneurs with special training, mentoring and specific financing.
NGOs and social entrepreneurs: for them, it is not so much about access to banking for their clients (such as homeless people or minorities), but rather about meeting their basic needs. NGOs and Social Entrepreneurs should be supported with direct financing - e.g. through investment, bridge or working capital - so that they can make their aid available to more people with more extensive services.
In order to check the effectiveness of the Social Banking Programme, an impact-oriented performance measurement was prepared for ERSTE Group. This was carried out on the basis of various output data on projects and target groups as well as data on the (social) impacts of the Social Banking activities. The Social Banking Initiative initially focused on the stakeholder groups Start-Ups (microfinance) and NGOs/Social Entrepreneurs (social sector). At a later stage, private individuals will also be included in the analysis. Together with the Social Banking Initiative, the NPO & SE Competence Center developed the concept and the concrete procedure for measuring performance and impact, as well as specific indicators for measuring in the individual areas of activity. Furthermore, support was provided in the preparation of the questionnaires. The project started in March 2016 and was completed in summer 2018.