the Popular Italian banks, with more than 500,000 members and nearly 7 million customers, is in excellent health. Out of 107 provinces, they hold a market share, in terms of agencies, of more than 25% in 27, 12 in the north and 15 in the center-south, testifying to a wide and extensive presence throughout the territory. 55% of loans are concentrated in North and 45% to South. In 2021, flows of new loans to Small and medium enterprises they exceeded 36 billion euros and those to families, for mortgages, 15 billion. In nearly 400 Italian municipalities, Popolari are today the only credit reference and, in the southern regions, the only ones that continue to maintain their headquarters as well as a generalized presence with nearly 1,000 branches. They can also boast of a ethical rating (The source standard ethics) equal to “EE” with a positive outlook (above the system average). Figures that confirm the solidity of the Popolari system and their link with the territories and companies, especially medium and small, which would hardly survive the crisis without this support.
A confirmation of this solidity and vivacity comes from the success of Sunday’s conference entitled “Banking Cooperation in a Globalized Economy Affected by the Crisis from a Sustainability Perspective”second stage of the meeting organized byNational Association of People’s Banks in collaboration with the sisters Popular French banks who coordinated the first meeting on March 13. The protagonists were the Italian and European Popolari as well as the protagonists of the Banking cooperation from North And South AmericaofAsiaofAfrica andAustralia. The work was introduced by the reports of two economists among the greatest experts in cooperation such as Prof. Giulio Sapelli and Prof. John Ferri, but other experts, European parliamentarians and representatives of institutions and politics also participated Andrea De Bertoldi, Secretary of the Senate Finance Committee. The “very important role played by cooperative banks in the banking system” has been recognized by the chairman of the parliamentary commission on banks Carla Ruocco who, in his greeting, underlined how with “their ethical profiles, centered on the person and on the territory, the Popolari are irreplaceable and, within the Italian economic system, represent an absolute particularity to be protected”.
The photograph of banking cooperation in the world is that of a strong point of the entire international banking system thanks to more than 230,000 establishments, 524 million shareholders and 820 million customers, 9,700 billion euros of deposits and 7,700 billion euros in loans, at parity at 13% and 8% of world GDP respectively. An expanding reality with the mission of combining innovation and new technologies while keeping the person and their needs at the center. As is clear from the interventions of the conference, the new challenge today is to strengthen the international dimension. For more than twenty years, in fact, theglobalized economy it is hit by a deep and chronic crisis which requires an analysis on an equal level. Otherwise, the damage, especially to the real economy, would be irreversible. After the pandemic, now the war: the next few months will be difficult and the social consequences, without immediate action to revive the economy, will be dramatic. The banks in our category make their own contribution by providing concrete support to the real economy while fulfilling a social function. For this reason, the positive results of the conference are not at all unexpected but reward those who work daily in the world of Popular Credit.
A result that demonstrates the vitality of cooperation and the interest of governments of all continents in the development of this specific and irreplaceable part of the credit system that is popular credit. But today, skills and experience, cooperation and solidarity are no longer enough. We must combine these values by accepting the challenge of sustainability and accepting the recent invitation from the Governor of the Bank of Italy, Ignatius Visco: “The commitment to pursue the strategy of environmental sustainability” in Europe and in the world must be clearly reaffirmed. Cooperation, particularly that of Crédit Populaire, will play an essential role thanks to the “human” dimension of its banks and those who work there on a daily basis in close contact with their customers, shareholders, local authorities and their territory. In Italy, the Popular banks he was born in territory they are ready to play, through the Association, a leading role in animation and coordination. The challenge of building a more ecologically and socially sustainable world involves banking cooperation and in particular that of popular credit in its international dimension.
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