The competitive capacity of businesses is a key driver for a sustainable economic and social development in our country and, for a bank with strong local roots such as Intesa Sanpaolo, the capacity and propensity to understand better businesses and their operating and strategic needs become even more important, in order to be a reliable partner in the growth and development stages, but above all in times of difficulty.
In 2017, Intesa Sanpaolo granted 63 billion euro of new medium/long-term credit to businesses and households. Of this amount, around 50 billion was granted in Italy (+2.6% compared to 2016), bringing around 21,000 businesses back to performing status (over 73,000 since 2014).
The Bank works constantly in partnership with Trade Associations and institutional players in order to support the growth of businesses with dedicated credit lines.
To facilitate access to credit, in 2017 the Bank developed an innovative rating model - validated by the ECB - in collaboration also with Confindustria Piccola Industria. In addition to the usual economic and financial assessments, the new model aims to make it easier to access credit, at more favourable financial terms, by basing the assessment also on the intangible qualities of the business, such as trademarks, patents, quality and environmental certifications, research and development activities, innovation and digitisation, development and competitive positioning projects, management of the business risk and being part of a supply chain. For customers with higher risk levels and greater difficulty in gaining access to credit, the new model has led to an increase in their ratings in 37% of cases.
Additionally, within the framework of the Industria 4.0 National Plan, new sectoral agreements were entered into to support and facilitate innovation processes, investments in new technologies and the digitisation of businesses. In 2017, the new agreement with ConfindustriaPiccola Industria also entered in full swing. This project called “Progettare il Futuro Accelerazione, trasformazione digitale, competitività” - (Planning the Future - Acceleration, digital transformation, competitiveness) aims to understand and accompany companies as effectively as possible, working systematically with the organisations which represent them. The programme enabled the allocation of 90 billion euro to four growth levers within the Italian industrial sector: ecosystems of enterprises and business integration, finance for growth, human capital and new businesses.
Considering also that many small and medium enterprises are part of complex supply chain networks, often with strong relationships at local level, another project called “Programma Sviluppo Filiere” was launched to support the growth of manufacturers of excellence by creating an innovative model of collaboration between the Bank and the Lead Company. Designed to facilitate access to credit, at the end of 2017 the initiative had attracted over 500 lead companies, equating to a potential number of 15,000 suppliers, with an overall turnover of over 70 billion euro and a workforce of 91,000 employees.
This attention is also reflected in the analysis that the Studies and Research department carries out regarding local economies and production chains with the aim of identifying customer needs and strengthening its product model, by facilitating access to credit, the various forms of production aggregation and the promotion of companies with a recognised strategic role in the chains.
Dialogue with players in the Italian business system has enabled the Group to expand its offering beyond the traditional banking and insurance services to also include corporate welfare services. Through access to a digital, multimedia and multi-channel platform (from PC, tablet or smartphone), businesses can use the “Welfare Hub” service to provide goods and services to employees that exercise their welfare credit (a performance bonus that employees can convert into Flexible Benefits or bonuses granted in that form by the company). Welfare Hub allows company employees to find out about opportunities offered by tax laws and make a conscious choice about opting for the Flexible Benefits. The employees of customer companies can also access six different financial and insurance product areas, from health to welfare, from loans to insurance policies, from loans to young people to covering risks.
Another important commitment on part of Intesa Sanpaolo is the “Business Gemma” programme aimed at supporting female entrepreneurship: from 2014 to 2017, a multi-year total of 600 million euro was made available to fund female enterprises and self-employed women. In 2017, 420 loans were disbursed for a total of 16.3 million euro. Innovation and research are key factors for the development of the country’s economy. Intesa Sanpaolo has launched a number of initiatives in this specific field.