​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Saving and retail banks helping people​ in fight against Covid-19

As the Coronavirus continues to hit countries all over the world, member banks provide various ways to combat economic fallout from the global pandemic. 

>> Read how ESBG and WSBI members serve during Covid-19 

>> See overview of official crisis policy responses

BRUSSELS, 27 May 2020 ​ Savings and retail banks providing vital banking services and support inclusive societies and sustainable economic growth. 

For example, savings and retail banks in Europe observe loan deferrals and moratoria helping both private and corporate clients. Member banks have issued a flood of new loans despite the economic downturn and set up online payment solutions and digital platforms for small- and medium-sized firms. On payments, savings and retail banks upgrade debit cards to execute contactless payments. People's income streams are smoothed out thanks banks paying unemployment benefits and pensions in advance. Commissions for the use of ATMs have been eliminated.​

Specific examples from ESBG members include:

  • ​GERMANY: German savings banks in March issued €17 billion new loans to companies, self-employed and private individuals, a 22.3 per cent spike compare to March 2019. They granted by end of April some 309,000 deferrals for customers regarding interest and principal payments. To help keep local high-street shops afloat, savings banks offered customers a chance to buy gift cards to redeem at participating shops at a later date.

  • FRANCE: Savings banks implemented a large-scale financial support plan for the public hospital sector. This support plan of a billion euros includes cash credits that can be mobilised in 48 hours, an offer of medium- and long-term financing as well as a credit solution for very long term investment needs on terms of up to 40 years. More than 27,000 local authorities and 750 public hospitals are supported by French savings banks experts on a daily basis.

  • ITALY: Italian savings banks foundations set aside – in grants – some €50 million to sustain non-profit organisations and to strengthen the much-stained national health system to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

  • LUXEMBOURG: Until mid-May, banks granted moratoria on loan repayments to more than 14,000 companies, amounting to €3.4 billion, thereof 20% on the account of ESBG local member Luxembourgish savings banks – BCEE - Banque et Caisse d'Épargne de l'État.

  • SPAIN: Funds totalling more than €47 billion were mobilised through mid-May via new loans and other forms of financing.


Unwavering commitment to society

Savings and retail banks' remain socially committed, supporting the public welfare and local societies. Built within their mandate, even in challenging periods, ESBG banks go beyond, helping improve customers' income situation, such as by paying unemployment benefits and paid pensions in advance. In some cases, banks provide additional training to people to help master digital banking services where demand soared and use became more widespread during the crisis. Relatedly, they in some cases teach people digital skills and provide special services for the so-called risk group / elderly people. ​


>> Read how ESBG and ​WSBI members act during Covid-19 

>> See overview of official crisis policy responses