­Finan­cial in­clu­sion

Access to finan­cial ser­vices

Within the Helaba Group, private customer business is primarily conducted by Frankfurter Sparkasse. Frankfurter Sparkasse’s Charter specifies that its mission is to provide access to financial services and promoting saving and to satisfying the demand for credit at local level. As the regional market leader in private customer business with the biggest branch network in Frankfurt am Main - comprising 75 branches and advice centres, more than 20 self-service banking centres and around 200 automated teller machines (ATMs), Frankfurter Sparkasse meets its mandate to operate in the public interest.

Frankfurter Sparkasse recognises financial inclusion as a key component of its mandate to operate in the public interest. To ensure that access to banking services is available to all sectors of the population, particularly economically and socially disadvantaged customers, Frankfurter Sparkasse offers various types of basic account. As at 31 December 2018, 1,328 basic accounts were offered (2017: 1,033). Frankfurter Sparkasse makes it easier for the blind and visually impaired to access its services by ensuring that each of its physical branches has at least one ATM with a headphone socket. The online branch of the Frankfurter Sparkasse offers completely barrier-free access to its media operations, too.

Frankfurter Sparkasse supports a variety of projects and initiatives that promote financial literacy for consumer households as well as entrepreneurship and starting a business. For example, the bank supports ConCap Connective Capital, a joint initiative of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Bürgschaftsbank Hessen. It provides business start-ups and young entrepreneurs with an 80-percent guarantee in order to facilitate their access to loans of up to 50,000 euros.

 

Custo­mers with dif­ficul­ties meet­ing repay­ments

With the implementation of the Mortgage Credit Directive (WohnImmoRL) in March 2016, the German Federal Government introduced an obligation on credit institutions to provide information and advice to customers. A credit institution must provide information in case at least 50 percent of a credit line granted on an overdraft facility has been drawn upon for an average of more than three months. When the account statement is sent, the bank offers the customer the possibility of receiving advice and, if they are interested, requests that s/he contact their relevant customer adviser. If preventative measures are unsuccessful, the bank sends out a reminder (i.e. prior to a final termination notice) in which the option of advice is reiterated.

Customers of Landesbausparkasse (LBS) Hessen-Thüringen in financial difficulty generally have the option of agreeing a deferred payment plan. In addition, LBS attempts to find alternative solutions by contacting the customer at an early stage.
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