Financial help when young mothers need it most
A new product from Intesa Sanpaolo delivers targeted support for new mothers and parents. Alice Grittini, Sustainability Manager and Head of Sustainable Development in the International Subsidiary Banks Division, explains how it’s another steppingstone towards the goal of being the world’s leading impact bank
A ground-breaking Intesa Sanpaolo programme to help new mothers has been extended across the Group to Eastern Europe and Eygpt. This new lending product, targeted at new mothers, is intended to cover the expenses of the first three years of parenthood, such as nursery, kindergarten or child-minding fees.
Inspired by the best practices and policies of the parent group that supports it, mamma@work helps women at a particular point in their lives – when they must balance their time between work and motherhood. The product is particularly useful for women who don’t have a family network around them and so may need external support with childcare costs.
The original idea of mamma@work was to create a financial solution with low interest rates and fees that is easily accessible for new mothers.
The version offered by the international subsidiary banks of Intesa Sanpaolo also provides advice and financial education. The loan is designed to be delivered progressively over time, covering financial needs as they occur.
“I’m a mum of two children,” says Grittini. “And I can say that during maternity leave, when you receive a small percentage of your salary, you are economically dependent. “We know new mothers often remain in situations of difficulty – particularly in the first months after the birth of a child – because they could face increasing costs, limiting their autonomy from an economic perspective.
“Maybe your choice is to stay at home and take care of your kids instead of having to juggle this with the work aspects of your life. The possibility to have access to credit with special conditions is a real support for those women who want to preserve their independence.”
From Italy to the world
Since its original launch, the product has been extended to more territories within the footprint of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, and now stretches across Eastern Europe and in Egypt.
"We know new mothers often remain in situations of difficulty – particularly in the first months after the birth of a child – because they face increasing costs, limiting their autonomy from an economic perspective"
Alice Grittini, Sustainability Manager and Head of Sustainable Development, International Subsidiary Banks Division, Intesa Sanpaolo
Rather than proceed with a one-size-fits-all product, its name and features take different forms across the countries the product covers.
“We gave each bank the opportunity to customise mamma@work, so that the product could be more in line with specific local needs,” says Grittini.
This means there are several variations. In some markets, for example, it supports both new parents rather than only mothers. In others it supports all women for a specific time.
Tackling economic violence worldwide
The localised versions of mamma@work were launched with a campaign that highlights what damage economic violence does and includes images of women from all geographies.
“We wanted the campaign to be recognisable for all women, to let them identify themselves,” says Grittini.
According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, the term economic violence refers to “any act or behaviour which causes economic harm to an individual”. It can take the form of restricting access to financial resources, education or the labour market, or not complying with economic responsibilities such as alimony.
In the main, this mostly affects women – and according to Alice Grittini, banks could play a significant role in eradicating it. “Our bank can be supportive in those very critical situations,” she says.
The world’s leading impact bank
This initiative is an example of several activities embedded in Intesa Sanpaolo’s Business Plan 2022-25, through which €25 billion has been dedicated to social lending and to society. It is intended that these initiatives elevate the Group to the status of the world’s leading impact bank.
The Group aims to target several of the economic challenges women face and is putting resources behind financial education, increasing access to credit capital and providing insurance products to help those more vulnerable to financial hardship.
“Supporting fragile people and helping them through social initiatives is something deeply rooted in our Group,” says Grittini. “Historically, we have stood beside people in need, with dedicated products and services designed to sustain them.
“While designing this initiative, everyone involved gave a great deal of emotional commitment. It’s a success story – because it’s not only an impact idea that became real, but also because there’s been such a high level of engagement from our colleagues, both in the parent company and in the subsidiaries.”