ERSTE Foundation

ERSTE Foundation is a creative workshop for ideas and innovation, a lab for topics of the future which increases its effectiveness through the strategic cooperation with networks.

As main shareholder of Erste Group ERSTE Foundation secures the independent future of one of the largest financial services providers in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. As a private Austrian savings banks foundation, the foundation is committed to serve the common good.

We invest parts of our dividends into the region in which Erste Group operates. Our goals are to strengthen civil society, foster the inclusion of socially disadvantaged groups and promote contemporary culture in Europe.

We focus on three thematic fields.

  • Social innovation

    We team up to develop social infrastructures – from financial services for people without a bank to capacity building for NGOs, or to digital solutions for social problems. We convey inspiring models of successful social integration, intervention and innovation. The foundation would like to spur others on their own commitment. Our projects should serve as a reference for partnerships with other actors in the non-profit sector.

  • European cohesion and democracy

    We want to raise awareness for burning topics and create knowledge for mature, active citizens of Europe. Liberal democratic values ​​and European cohesion must be accessible and promoted. To understand Europe and its crisis is the basic prerequisite for addressing the current challenges and creating new perspectives together.

  • Contemporary culture

    We promote engagement with critical societal developments by artists and cultural producers and mediate their works to civil society actors and a wider public.

ERSTE Foundation – Main Shareholder of Erste Group Bank AG

Erste Group was founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank (‘Erste Oesterreichische Spar-Casse’). As was ERSTE Foundation. In the beginning, they were one. After 1993, the savings bank had two successors: the legal one, ERSTE Foundation, and the operational one, Erste Bank (later Erste Group).

In 1997, Erste Group went public with a strategy to expand its retail business into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Since then, Erste Group’s customer base has grown through numerous acquisitions and organic growth from 600,000 to 16.1 million. 47.300 employees provide banking services through 2.604 branches in 7 countries. Today, Erste Group is one of the largest financial services providers in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of clients and total assets. It has always focused on retail and SME banking.

ERSTE Foundation is today the main shareholder of Erste Group Bank AG. It owns a direct stake of 11.25% and is heading a group of shareholders acting in kind with 30.1% of shares.