Founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank, Erste Group went public in 1997 with a strategy to expand its retail business into Central and Eastern Europe. Since then Erste Group has grown to become one of the largest financial services providers in the Eastern part of the EU in terms of clients and total assets. Within its social banking activities Erste founded in Austria Zweite Sparkasse, special saving bank supporting people in difficult financial situation. Later on good.bee credit, microfinance institution financing small entrepreneurs in rural area, was established in Romania. Currently all Erste banks in CEE operate social banking initiatives focused on improvement of financial stability and inclusion of people on low incomes, enabling job creation via new entrepreneurs and fostering development of social organisations.