Savings and retail banks across the world have an embedded social commitment to the communities and regions in which they operate. This is an integral part of their identity and one of their distinctive features amongst retail banking financial institutions. Traditionally, savings banks have contributed in each of their countries to the improvement of living conditions, have supported local economic development and built greater social cohesion in their local communities.
In most countries today, this commitment to society is one of the pillars of a broader and comprehensive corporate social responsibility approach, which is reflected in banking activities and professional practices. Thus, savings banks’ involvement stretches from financial inclusion and financial education projects to environmental action, preservation of cultural heritage, fair and clear relations with customers, engagement with stakeholders etc.
Savings banks embody a "stakeholder" model, seeking to bring value and return to the whole community of stakeholders, which surrounds them, including investors, suppliers, customers, employees and the local community in which they operate. In so doing, savings banks are driven by the conviction that alongside their banking and financial activities and traditional intermediation role, they also have a social responsibility.
This broad commitment to CSR has been reconfirmed by the adherence to the United Nations Global Compact Principles in 2006 and the adoption of an ESBG Charter for Responsible Business in 2008.