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Beyond banking: Savings & retail banks

Beyond banking: Savings & retail banks
  • ​​​​Savings & retail banking body members steer €1.3 billion annually to drive social progress.
  • Social commitment by WSBI banks highlighted today at high-level Mexico City meeting chaired by banking sage Isidro Fainé


MEXICO CITY, 14 February 2020 – Some €1.3 billion in investment annually in social commitments by savings and retail banks worldwide help people's day-to-day lives, concluded a group of leading banking executives from four continents meeting today in Mexico City. The group assembled forms the Presidents Committee of WSBI – the World Institute of Savings and Retail Banks.

​Chaired by Isidro Fainé, its president, the two-day meeting highlights the impact made by locally focused savings and retail banks, which go beyond a profit motive to help local communities and economies through efforts like foundation work. During his intervention, WSBI President Fainé stressed that “this investment in a social commitment fully aligns with the main purpose of WSBI members to promote economic and social sustainability, with the aim of contributing to the progress and well-being of citizens, especially people living in vulnerable situations."

The Presidents Committee in Mexico provided an ideal occasion to share best practices and the experiences in the social commitments area of various WSBI members who serve in some 80 countries. That includes Latin American and Caribbean WSBI member institutions, as well as banking in Europe, Asia and Africa.

In Tanzania, WSBI member TPB Bank has made great progress in including a maximum of people in the formal economy and in the banking system. The bank uses the potential of mobile phone technology to the maximum and focuses also on offering banking products to savings groups. These savings group are a deep-rooted tradition in the country.

In Germany, the association of savings banks (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) follows a sustainable business philosophy which focuses on the appropriate and adequate provision of money and credit services to all groups of customers from all parts of society. This provides for financial inclusion of private customers - regardless of their personal income and financial situation - and for a sustainable commitment to the development of local businesses, particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises in their respective business area. It is the overarching role of Sparkassen to ensure open and accessible quality financial services to local private customers, small and mid-sized enterprises and the public sector in their business area. Sparkassen provide comprehensive retail banking even in remote and low-income regions. Their main purpose is not to make profits, but to serve the common good. Sparkassen use their generated revenues in order to sponsor a wide variety of local services of general interest, e.g. in the arts and for social, cultural, sports, scientific and educational purposes. .

In Spain,"la Caixa" – the Caixa Foundation –believes in people and their capacity to grow, work and overcome adversity. They believe in education, culture and research as drivers of progress and in a society with more opportunities as well as in a better future for everyone. They work in thousands of projects to build such a future. In collaboration with hundreds of organisations and thousands of volunteers, they join forces to combat poverty and exclusion, to promote excellent medical research, to bring culture within everyone's reach and to improve the education of children, both today and tomorrow.

In Honduras, WSBI member Banco Atlantida  develops CSR activities based on four pillars: corporate volunteering, education, art and culture and social investment. Banco Atlántida focused on three of the SDGs in 2019:  Health and Welfare (Objective 3)  Decent work and economic growth (Objective 8);  Taking urgent action for the climate (Objective 13) in figures: 10 social investment projects, 6 corporate volunteering, 4 of education, 2 of financial education and 3 of art and culture. Banco Atlántida is the only bank in Honduras with coverage in the entire country. It serves 1,258,975 customers through 2,177 employees. In 2018, it registered more than $ 3,672 million in assets, ranked first, and holds the top spot within the Honduran financial system in terms of deposits and in terms of capital and reserves.

In Colombia, WSBI member Banco Caja Social, part of the Fundación Grupo Social, contributes to overcoming the structural causes of poverty with the aim of building an equal, solidary, productive and peaceful society with special emphasis on the most disadvantaged and conflictive areas of Colombia, reaching 19 municipalities and 4 million inhabitants. They strive to generate the necessary capacities so that the communities are agents of their own development and achieve an integral improvement in their quality of life. Banco Caja Social is one of the foundation's vehicles to achieve its mission. They focus on promoting banking and savings. Cuentamiga – its star project – offers a free account designed to perform various operations.


Contact: Dirk Smet, WSBI at or at +32 2 211 1190​

Notes to editor:


About WSBI

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) represents the interests of 6,760 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $16 trillion and serving some 1.7 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2018). Founded in 1924, the institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. WSBI supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. Learn more at


About WSBI President Isidro Fainé

Isidro Fainé is Chairman and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Fundación Bancaria “La Caixa". He holds a doctorate degree in economics sciences from the University of Barcelona, an ISMP in business administration from Harvard University, and a post graduate degree in senior management at IESE. Isidro Fainé began his professional banking career as Director of Investment at Banco Atlántico in 1964 and was appointed Managing Director of Banco de Asunción in Paraguay in 1969. On his return to Barcelona, he held various management positions in financial institutions. In 1982, he joined "la Caixa" as Deputy-General Director, subsequently taking on various positions of responsibility. In April 1991, he was appointed Assistant Executive Managing Director and in 1999, Managing Director of the entity, and assumed the Chair in June 2007 until June 2014. Mr. Fainé served as Chairman of CaixaBank, S.A. from 2011 until his resignation as a member of the Board of Directors in 2016. He is currently the Chairman of the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA) and of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and Vice-Chairman of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG). He is also Chairman of the Spanish Confederation of Directors and Executives (CEDE) and of the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome and Founder of Círculo Financiero. Mr. Fainé is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Prado Museum, Trustee of the Carlos Slim Foundation and has been acknowledged with the 2018 Forbes Philanthropy Award.


Some examples of WSBI members in Latin America and their social commitments:


  • Argentina: Banco de la Nación Argentina (BNA)

Fundación Banco Nación Argentina (FBNA), BNA – the largest bank in Argentina in terms of assets, valued at $ 20 billion, employing 17,515 people – works as a “2nd level" organisation in social inclusion programmes through sport and culture as a complement to formal education and to attract the attention of new generations. Examples include: (i) Olivares Rugby Civil Association, train children and youth, using sport as a means for their integral development; (ii) Create value and work with CAF – the Development Bank of Latin America – to strengthen the socio-emotional skills of adolescents and young people in order to improve motivation, coexistence, school results and future employability through art and culture; (iii) Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina, develops organic gardens and trains the inhabitants of the province so that Protected Areas (forests, jungles, etc.) can be taken care of by the community as an opportunity to develop. FBNA projects of its own initiative: (i) Financial training in the design of canvas business plan aimed at micro entrepreneurs to access credits together with the NNA Emprende Program of BNA; (ii) The work of the future technical training and soft skills oriented to the unemployed together with universities, labour ministries and non-profit organisations. BNA employs people.


  • Dominican Republic: Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP)

APAP is a mutual entity that occupies fifth place in the local banking market with $1500 million of assets. At the end of 2018, it reached an accumulated amount in the last 12 years of $ 12 million in social investment programs, destined as financial support for social and community projects. The Social Work in APAP combines the principles that give origin and meaning to APAP Social Investment: sustainable, close, voluntary, memorable and innovative. APAP generates a positive impact on society, contributing directly from the different projects and programs to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Programs: (i) The Green Side of APAP, prioritizing education, quality of life for the person and the environment, benefits educational, art and cultural institutions. SDG 3, 6, 7, 12; (ii) APAP Solidarity Talent, participation of employees in the voluntary works that are carried out from the APAP Social Investment programs (iii) Dale Un Chance, promotes social mobility through higher education and first employment. Impacts the individual's close tone: family, community, social circle (iv) A Roof for Our People, Housing; Financial Education and Quality of Life. improve the living conditions of employees with high job performance and greater socioeconomic vulnerability. (v) APAP ALL, the first local initiative in its category for the financial inclusion of persons with disabilities.


  • Colombia: Banco Caja Social

Banco Caja Social is part of the Fundación Grupo Social, which contributes to overcoming the structural causes of poverty with the aim of building an equal, solidary, productive and peaceful society with special emphasis on the most disadvantaged and conflictive areas of Colombia, reaching 19 municipalities and 4 million inhabitants. They strive to generate the necessary capacities so that the communities are agents of their own development and achieve an integral improvement in their quality of life. Banco Caja Social is one of the foundation's vehicles to achieve its mission. They focus on promoting banking and savings. Cuentamiga – its star project – offers a free account designed to perform various operations. In the last nine years, Banco Caja Social has maintained an AAA rating consecutively every time it continues its mission of social commitment in Colombia. Specific Banco Caja Social projects: Some 66% of the housing loans granted in 2017 were for the acquisition of social interest housing. Eighty-five per cent of clients it serves receive less than two minimum wages or are microentrepreneurs. The bank helps finance projects of young entrepreneurs and microentrepreneurs.


  • El Salvador: Fedecrédito

Fedecrédito holds a leading position when it comes to“base of the pyramid" customers through extensive banking and financial inclusion efforts. It does this through the largest national coverage network that covers 80% of the Salvadoran territory. Its main social contribution stems from banking the Salvadoran population through its extensive “Fede Punto Vecino" program: Non-banking correspondents located in micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses, which facilitate a wide variety of financial operations even in remote areas. In addition, the FEDECRÉDITO SYSTEM finances and engages in projects whose main objective is to support the talent of young people. Specific examples include the promotion of culture through donating musical instruments to bands in schools. They also promote education via regular delivery of hundreds of backpacks with school supplies to educational centres. In sport, Fedecrédito finances the “Blue and White Project", which provides support for youth soccer teams as a vehicle for social prevention. In addition, it regularly organises races and tournaments to support charitable causes.


  • Mexico: Banco Inbursa

Banco Inbursa is especially committed to the improvement of financial education in Mexico. It provides tips, videos, microclasses, blogs and free financial education materials available on a website. It has joined alliances with the Khan Academy, Carlos Slim Foundation and Academic Digital Knowledge Community. Banco Inbursa takes part in the Financial Education Programme of the Association of Banks of Mexico. It  works closely with the Carlos Slim Foundation, which develops programmes in the fields of education, health, employment, economic development, migrants, road safety, sports, environment, justice, culture, human development and humanitarian aid that contribute to improving quality of life, promote the formation of human capital and generate opportunities that foster the integral development of people and communities.


  • Mexico: Banco del Bienestar

Within the Mexican banking system, Banco del Bienestar focuses on development banking that serves as an engine of economic development to boost productive activities, infrastructure, savings and credit in the popular classes. Providing services through 429 branches, 184 institutions of the Popular Savings and Credit Sector (SACP), members of L @ Red de la Gente1 with 1,846 branches and 2118 bank correspondents, one of its main objectives is to channel financial and technical support towards the promotion of savings and the healthy development of the popular savings and credit sector. It is driven to narrow the financial access gap in the country.


  • Peru: Federación Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito (FEPCMAC)

Its main contribution happens through broadening financial inclusion of people residing in more remote places through mobile phones use. It achieves this through CMAC Mobile – providing financial operations even without balance and without internet – and AGENTE MULTICAJA. These projects were launched with support from the IDB / IMF. It also promotes financial education through mutliple channels. One way is online, through free, virtual financial culture platform that offers free virtual courses to children, youth, adults or the elderly. They also hold workshops, educational conferences, and promote savings in schools, such as through “Only Caja Piura", which has trained 13,000 children in financial education since 2015. They also provide business training of specific segments: different programs to include local entrepreneurs in global value chains. One example is the “Weaving Hands" programme of Caja Trujillo for the inclusion of women. FEPCMAC represents 11 municipal savings banks spread throughout the national territory in a decentralised manner, serving 371,000,323 clients, thus obtaining 71.5% of the microfinance market.


ends all​

Financial inclusion; Financial education