good.bee

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 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.


“We believe that access to responsible financial services can make a difference in building better futures.” good.bee manifesto

Context

In the Central and South Eastern European 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.

Impact

good.bee makes financial services more accessible to previously ‘underbanked’ individuals and businesses in Central and Eastern Europe. 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.

It 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.

Facts

good.bee was launched in 2008 by ERSTE Foundation and Erste Group Bank, with the Foundation holding a 40% stake. Its main areas of business are Micro-Banking and Social Enterprise Finance.

good.bee’s two first Micro-Banking operations: ‘good.bee Credit’ provides microloans in the rural regions of Romania, in particular to small farmers, alongside basic financial education; and ‘good.bee Mobile Transaction’ offers a mobile-phone-based alternative to transfer money, and consists of an affordable current account and debit card. The first good.bee Micro-Banking initiatives unrolled in Romania, with the help of our partners, the Economic Development Centre (Romania) and the WIZZIT Group (South Africa) and is now offered by BCR.

Still in its early stages, good.bee Social Enterprise Finance offers, through the local Erste Group banks, not only loans, but also knowledge and skills training to social entrepreneurs through local support networks.

Project Manager

Image of Franz Karl Prüller Franz Karl Prüller
T: +43 (0)50100 - 15439
email

Prof Muhammad Yunus

“I am convinced that we can create a world without poverty, if we all believe that it is possible.”

Prof Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, patron of The Social Business Tour 2010

Over 34,000 clients in Romania for good.bee Mobile Transactions, at the end of January 2011

Constantin Carapale, good.bee Credit client from RomaniaConstantin Carapale, Romanian farmer from Ciarmurlia de Sus, one of good.bee Credit’s clients:

“The procedure is simple: I take a loan and then repay it. Then I take another loan. That’s how I move forward. My sons will not find work anywhere else in the country. Therefore, our family business needs to expand. We are livestock farmers – and our life is going in the right direction.”