Die Zweite Wiener Vereins-Sparcasse

Die Zweite Wiener Vereins-Sparcasse: The Bank for the Unbankable - Because sometimes you just can’t do it your own.

Vienna, AustriaVienna
Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In response to the social challenges of our time "Zweite Sparkasse" was founded on 15th May 2006. Zweite Sparkasse is not geared towards profit. Its purpose is to support people "who need a helping hand" by providing them with banking services and advice which they are unable to obtain elsewhere. In cooperation with NGOs, it aims to help as many customers as possible, get their finances in order and keep them that way.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

At the time Zweite Sparkasse was founded there were about 80,000 people in Austria without access to a banking account and other financial services. For these people there were no alternatives to effect payment transactions or enter any other banking relationships.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Zweite Sparkasse's product line-up is tailored specifically to the needs of its specific target group. A distinction is made between basic services and value-added services. Customers recommended by cooperation partners are initially issued a basic current account for a period of three years (no overdrafts permitted). In cooperation with the insurer WIENER STÄDTISCHE Versicherung AG Vienna Insurance Group, Zweite Sparkasse offers an additional service package comprising free private accident insurance, one free session of oral legal consultation per quarter and the option of taking out a household contents insurance policy.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

With the support of NGOs providing the recommendations, Zweite Sparkasse caters not only to people who require an account number but to people who need a second chance and depend on support in order to succeed. For people who got stigmatized because they don’t get access to the financial market, regaining themselves is associated with difficulties, additional costs as well as an enormous amount of time. E.g. In the modern financial world it is unimaginable to find a new job without having a bank account.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The "success" of Die Zweite Sparkasse has also inspired other initiatives at Erste Bank Österreich and the banks in Central and Eastern Europe. "I €AN" – Workshops to get off to a good start in "financial life"- "I €AN" is a new initiative that aims to systematically reduce the number of new customers of Die Zweite Sparkasse through debt prevention. Special attention is paid to young people who are at risk of walking into the debt trap. "Assisted Accounts" is another collaboration with the Schuldnerberatung. Here the customers only get a limited "allowance". The debt counselling organisation first debits the running costs (rent, gas or electricity bills) to cover the expenses. Hereby the organisation works like a guardian for the clients. After some trial period at Zweite Sparkasse the assisted accounts were transferred into the daily business of Erste Bank Oesterreich.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Die Zweite Sparkasse project is a unique project of this kind worldwide. Similarities could be drawn from banks which offer their accounts for a limited amount of money except those clients who have been indebted with the bank. But this service only refers to the account itself. The uniqueness of this project lies in the close cooperation with welfare and debt counselling organisations. Only with joint efforts it can be assured that people get a realistic chance of regaining control of their financial problems. In Czech Republic the first counselling organisation has been established, taking Die Zweite Sparkasse as inspiration. It is supported not only by ERSTE Foundation and Ceska Sporitelna, but by almost all retail banks of the country.


A bank for people without a bank, without any personnel costs. Programs to “prevent” a growing customer base and being happy with every customer “leaving”. Debt counselling services and a bank which often are opponents, working together. A bank reinventing itself with commemorating its 200 year old founding idea. The honorary board of Zweite Sparkasse, the volunteers, who engage in the daily business, the ERSTE Foundation board, who provided the capital for the foundation, the ERSTE Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG board, who remitted a letter of responsibility to the FMA (Austrian Financial Market Authority) as well as the board and supervisory committee of ERSTE Group Bank AG who foster similar initiatives in Central Europe. The management of Schuldnerberatung Vienna supported by the Austrian overall organisation of Schuldnerberatung.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Staatlich anerkannte Schuldnerberatung Wien gemGmbH (Vienna Debt Counselling Service)
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)


Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Member of the Executive Board Zweite Sparkasse



Twitter URL
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Organization Name

Staatlich anerkannte Schuldnerberatung Wien gemGmbH (Vienna Debt Counselling Service)

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Dipl. Sozialarbeiter



Twitter URL
Facebook URL
Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, WIE, Vienna

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
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Other: If you feel that your entry does not fit any of the above categories, please suggest another category name..

What awards or honors has the project received?

Trigso 2013 - Best Partnership - Large Corporations; Dubai International Award, UNHABITAT - Best Practice 2012; Greinecker Senio

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1: Staatlich anerkannte Schuldnerberatung Wien gemGmbH (Vienna Debt Counselling Service)
-Type of partner: social/public
-Short description sentence: This organisations offers counselling and support services to people in financial distress. As governmental organisation Schuldnerberatung has also contributed to the development of this project.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: The social institution guarantees complementary and holistic support with the intent to rebuild a sense of confidence in money matters.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: Their task is to verify whether potential customers are actually in a position to actively contribute to their financial welfare. Before an account can be opened, a written recommendation from Schuldnerberatung and other partner-organisations such as Caritas or Neustart is required. Up to date there are about 30 partner-organisations.

-Partner 2: WIENER STÄDTISCHE Versicherung AG Vienna Insurance Group
-Type of partners: business
-Short description sentence: A specific partnership connects Zweite Sparkasse with Vienna Insurance Group, who created a special insurance package for the clients of Zweite Sparkasse.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: By partnering with Zweite Sparkasse Vienna Insurance Group makes another statement for their Corporate Social Responsibility.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project: The insurer offers an additional service package comprising free private accident insurance, one free session of oral legal advice per quarter and the option of taking out a household contents insurance policy.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Since its foundation seven years ago, Zweite Sparkasse provided over 11,000 customers with a bank account, no matter what their financial situation may be. The aim is to help them to recover their independence, find a way back into a normal daily life and to a regular bank account. Repairing credit history is the first step in a longer and supportive process of getting out of debt and back on one's feet. 1,500 customers have made use of the opportunity and have once again become customers of normal banks. The pillars of this project's success are over 400 experts who contribute daily and voluntarily to making this unique service work. From the managing board to the bank clerks and assistants: every single person who works at Die Zweite Sparkasse does this for free - but not for nothing.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Foundations, Other.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Zweite Sparkasse is stocked with equity capital from the ERSTE Foundation which helps the Bank to cover its expenses. On the other hand the customer growth is stable.
Customers are looked after for at least three years which helps conducting analyses about their financial management before they are recommended to a normal bank. This work process is based on personal sustainability.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Imagine the following scenario: you have become unemployed, had a nasty divorce that led to bankruptcy - in other words, you are in severe financial dire straits and have lost access to all banking services. Whatever the reason, you suddenly cannot utilise cashless transactions anymore, not for paying your bills, not even any incoming money has anywhere to go. An estimated 40,000 people in Austria do not hold a bank account. The idea for this 'bank for the unbankable' lies in the history of ERSTE Foundation. In 1819, under its founding name, " Erste Osterreichische-Spar-Casse” became the first bank in Austria to facilitate the economic empowerment of all people, by helping ordinary citizens save their money. More than 190 years later, Die Zweite Sparkasse is a savings bank for fellow men and women, who are not eligible to administer their daily money business via a regular bank.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

Zweite Sparkasse is a solitary social banking service in the Austrian financial market not only because the regular banking routine is not particularly one to offer services free of charge. The statutory right for an account will not make Zweite Sparkasse redundant but will require a direction towards additional services and offers.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

The basis for the collaboration between Zweite Sparkasse and Schuldnerberatung is a cooperation agreement.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

The Zweite Sparkasse team includes active employees of Erste Bank and savings banks as well as former employees who are retired. They have volunteered to serve the good cause and help people by giving their time to provide advice and support. Their main motivation lies in their voluntary commitment to social responsibility. They want to help people in what they have been trained for on their jobs. Today, some 400 employees of Erste Bank and the regional savings banks are involved in Zweite Sparkasse. The enlistment of volunteers has also induced a new awareness at Erste Bank and the savings banks and given rise to a new delicacy in dealings with these customers. This makes for a preventive approach that could help reduce the number of customer requiring the services of Zweite Sparkasse in the future.

How did you find out about this competition?

Ashoka Austria