Die Zweite Wiener Vereins-Sparcasse

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

Vienna, AustriaVienna, Austria
Year Founded:
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.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we give people access to a bank account and insurance who got excluded from the financial world?
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.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

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.

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

"I €AN" Workshops to get off to a good start in "financial life" - an initiative that aims to systematically reduce the number of new customers through debt prevention. Special attention is paid to young people who are at risk of walking into the debt trap. With "Assisted Accounts" the customers only get a limited "allowance". The debt counselling organisation first debits the running costs (rent, gas) to cover the expenses. The organisation works as a guardian for the clients. After some trial period the assisted accounts were transferred into the daily business of Erste Bank Oesterreich.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

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.

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. 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.

Founding Story

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. More than 190 years after the foundation of the first bank in Austria which facilitated the economic empowerment of all people, by helping ordinary citizens save their money, 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.


A bank for people without a bank, without any personnel costs. All employees work voluntarily, 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.