BRUSSELS, 2 March 2015 – A recently issued Economic and Social Committe (EESC) own initiative report
expressly acknowledges the social role of savings and cooperative banks serving local economies, and notably in respect of their financial and social functions, which are closely intertwined in their commitment to territorial cohesion. Reference is made to their social commitment and concern for the community, which are the features that are most visible to the public.
Surpluses generated are shared among cultural initiatives, social assistance and healthcare, education and research, historical and artistic heritage, environmental sustainability, and so on, and in the case of savings banks the social dividend amounts to several billions of euros every year.
The role of savings and cooperative banks gains growing recognition, given the current need to create value for local economies. Their "stakeholder value" (STV) approach is becoming increasingly important. According to the EESC, social banking facilitates financial inclusion and territorial cohesion by fostering entrepreneurship and the start-up of crowdfunding and socially responsible investment schemes.
The Economic and Social Committee claims that cooperative and savings banks play a significant role as intermediaries for EU instruments and programmes, and are key partners in the implementation of the new Juncker plan and the European Commission Social Business Initiative.