UniCredit Bank Austria Social Impact Banking - 2021 interim report:
"Growing stronger and more resilient together"
- Social Impact Banking granted loans totalling in excess of EUR 12.5 million to over 17,300 people in Austria in 2020 as well as providing almost 2000 students with access to financial knowledge
- The targets for 2021 are:
- 4 x Impact Financing; total volume almost EUR 40 million
- EUR 3.7 million in microcredits
- Roll-out in Austria of "Money Matters" financial education programme
- At least 25 financial education workshops for socially disadvantaged groups
- Gamification extension of "Geldwissen2Go" web app
- Main project: construction of new magdas Hotel in Vienna's third district in collaboration with Caritas der Erzdiözese Vienna
"The coronavirus pandemic has made it abundantly clear to us once again how important social cohesion is when it comes to actively and effectively managing this kind of crisis", says Robert Zadrazil, CEO of UniCredit Bank Austria. "UniCredit's Social Impact Banking initiative, launched in Austria in 2019, is designed to encourage just that: We support social projects in order to make society as a whole stronger."
During the coronavirus crisis, it was once again those groups who were already suffering social exclusion and who are often unable to participate in economic and social life fully or indeed at all who were disproportionately affected. In order to give these people full access to economic and social life, in 2019 UniCredit Bank Austria launched its Group-wide "Social Impact Banking" programme in Austria too.
2020 - the year of challenges
As Austria's largest bank, UniCredit Bank Austria continued to fully live up to its social responsibility in 2020 despite the coronavirus crisis making the situation particularly challenging:
- Some 6 Impact Financings with a total volume of EUR 11.5 million granted at extremely favourable interest rates. Projects from the following areas are at the heart of Impact Financing: social and health care, social services, inclusive and sustainable services, services aimed at the inclusion or reintegration of workers and disadvantaged and vulnerable people into the labour market, social housing/care facilities for sick people, education, learning and vocational training, and preservation or restoration of cultural and artistic heritage.
More than 17,300 beneficiary institutions were supported indirectly.
- In addition, UniCredit Bank Austria granted approximately 50 microcredits in 2020, with a total financing volume of EUR 1.1 million. These credits primarily helped entrepreneurs and founders working in health care services, small restaurants, individual services (e.g. hairdressers, engineers and architects, IT specialists) who would otherwise have found it difficult or even impossible to secure financing.
- In terms of financial education, the "Money Matters" financial education programme was used in a pilot involving 200 students. Some 1650 students from all over Austria participated in the "Business Plan competition" and 40 young social entrepreneurs from Austria were supported by the "Finance for Social Change" competition (aimed at increasing financial knowledge).
2021 - the year of new beginnings
This year, UniCredit Bank Austria has set itself some particularly challenging targets for Social Impact Banking in order to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from the post-crisis economic recovery.
- This year, for instance, there have already been 4 Impact Financings with a total volume of almost EUR 40 million - this is almost quadruple the previous year's amount
- The plan for 2021 is to grant microcredits with a total volume of approx. EUR 3.7 million - also a sizeable increase on 2020, of 330%
- The "Money Matters" financial education programme, an innovative online platform for all students aged 14+, will be rolled out throughout Austria
- At least 25 financial education workshops will be held for socially disadvantaged groups
- The "Geldwissen2Go" web app will be extended with a gamification element, i.e. the inclusion of game-design elements with the goal of enhancing the learning effect
- The financial education collaboration with the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the Museum for Social and Economic Affairs will continue.
magdas HOTEL in the Hungarian quarter
In 2015, Caritas opened the first social business hotel in Austria in a former nursing home near the Vienna Prater. It is run by hotel industry professionals in collaboration with people with a refugee background. The hotel has since welcomed 181,000 guests from all over the world and over 80 people from 20 countries have been able to gain a foothold in working life in Austria as a result. There is currently a project underway that will see a former clerical residence in Landstraße, Vienna, transformed into a new hotel with 85 guest rooms, a dedicated restaurant and a pavement café and outdoor dining area. The project is called "madgas HOTEL im Stephanushaus" and will run until 2022. It will be the second of these truly open-minded global hotels in Vienna.
"The coronavirus crisis is still having an effect, with many people who have worked hard all their lives now finding themselves in a desperate situation. It has become even more difficult to find work in Austria, particularly for those with a refugee background. At magdas HOTEL, they have the opportunity to live up to their potential and gain access to the labour market. Here, they become the hosts themselves", says Klaus Schwertner, Managing Director of Caritas der Erzdiözese Wien, explaining the magdas HOTEL model. "Financing such a major project is not easy", says Schwertner. "We are therefore delighted that in UniCredit Bank Austria and its Social Impact Banking initiative we have found a partner who not only provides us with financing at extremely favourable terms but also shares our social convictions."
About Social Impact Banking:
UniCredit first launched Social Impact Banking in Italy at the end of 2017. In 2019, it was launched in a further ten countries in which the group is represented: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. To date, Social Impact Banking has supported more than 4800 borrowers with microcredits and Impact Financing. In addition, various financial education programmes have supported around 71,000 young people and people at risk of social exclusion.
With its Social Impact Banking initiative, UniCredit Bank Austria is pooling and consolidating its activities that are designed to foster a fairer and more inclusive society - it does this by granting special loans and sharing economic and financial expertise. This initiative supports and finances companies and organisations that create clear social benefits, and activities and collaborations in the field of education are boosting the level of financial knowledge among the population.
"We intentionally steer away from donations and grants and instead support important projects run by companies and organisations with a social aim by providing financing at extremely favourable rates", says Zadrazil. "As with any other loan, it is important to us that each borrower repays the borrowed capital according to the repayment schedule, but we make the capital available at significantly reduced rates. We set great store by the tangible results of the individual projects, i.e. the social impact.
UniCredit Bank Austria Press Office
Volker Moser, Tel.: +43 (0)5 05 05 52854