Zweite Sparkasse: “And suddenly, a thousand customers were gone!”

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With over 400 volunteers, Zweite Sparkasse – considered a branch pioneer – provides support to approximately 8,000 customers throughout Austria. The sole aim of Zweite Sparkasse advisors is to assist these customers in coping with their financial crisis. “We are probably the only bank that is happy to lose customers”, explains Evelyn Hayden, CEO of Zweite Sparkasse, on the occasion of the thousandth customer to close a free credit account at this Sparkasse and to receive a bank account at a different bank. All in all, more than 10,000 accounts have been opened since Zweite Sparkasse was founded in 2006.

Wide recognition on national and international levels

The results of a current survey revealed that almost one in five people in Austria is familiar with Zweite Sparkasse. On 25 June, Zweite Sparkasse will be awarded the European Commission’s European CSR Award 2013 in the category “Best Partnership”. Other awards recently received are: Dubai International Award 2012, Trigos 2013 (Category Best Partnership).

Helping people to help themselves

How people who have no access to financial services can be helped is also the topic of a recently launched legislative initiative of the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, who aims to introduce a general “right to a bank account” in the EU Member States. “We are pleased to see that, in the meantime, having no bank account has been taken notice of as an issue on the European level”, says Evelyn Hayden, commenting this proposal, “but we are convinced that people in difficult situations need more than just a bank account.” Only comprehensive advisory activities offered by volunteers and cooperation with counselling organisations will allow the customers of Zweite Sparkasse to stabilise their financial situation sustainably and return to a normal banking relationship. “We help people to help themselves, so that everybody who needs an account can actually open one at a bank of their choice.”

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