In 1993 the “Erste österreichische Spar-Casse”, which had been founded in 1819 as a savings association bank, transferred its entire banking business to a stock corporation. However, it remained in existence as a holding company for the stocks of the newly set up subsidiary, changing its name to “DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Anteilsverwaltungssparkasse”. With the IPO (initial public offering) in 1997 it became the main shareholder of the Erste Bank. In 2003 it was transformed into a foundation: “DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Privatstiftung” (from here on referred to briefly as: Foundation).
This Foundation is therefore the direct successor of the savings bank founded in 1819 and, thanks to the capital resources available to it, is one of the largest foundations in Europe. As the main shareholder in the Erste Bank the Foundation ensures the bank’s independent future and devotes part of its profits to the common good of the region in which the Erste Bank Group operates.
The bee used as a logo to symbolise the Foundation is not new. It was employed back in the 1820s as a stamp and on the covers of deposit books in the savings bank. The bee accompanied the Erste Bank up to the 1970s and it was only in 1978 that a new logo was introduced. But the bee remained visible in the bank, for example on the facade of the Erste Bank headquarters at Graben 21 in Vienna. DIE ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Foundation has revived the bee for its own purposes.