People on low incomes have a hard time getting financial services from the banks. This is true the world over. In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) there is a particular problem of social and financial exclusion due to limited access to banking services. This affects small-scale entrepreneurs, such as farmers and shopkeepers, as well as the social enterprise sector which adopts a business approach to tackle social problems.
As a joint venture, ERSTE Foundation and Erste Group launched good.bee in 2008, with the Foundation holding a 40% stake. good.bee’s main areas of business are microbanking and social enterprise finance.
It makes financial services more accessible to previously ‘underbanked’ individuals and businesses in CEE. This commitment to banking the many, not the few, is in our very DNA: founded in 1819, the first Austrian savings bank, ERSTE Oesterreichische Spar-Casse, served mainly craftsmen and industrial workers. Two centuries on, good.bee economically empowers individuals and communities in Central and Eastern Europe by offering financial services and support where these have been sorely lacking.
In CEE countries, around 35 million people do not even have a simple current bank account. There is a clear need for small-scale sensible loans and additional support for enterprising individuals and communities. A combination of Micro-Banking and Social Enterprise Finance can play a real part in renewing the region, both economically and socially.
goob.bee develops innovative solutions to break down the barriers to financial inclusion; it develops microfinance ventures across the region; it offers, through the local Erste Group banks, responsible and accessible financial solutions, and builds awareness of this socially responsible approach to finance.