·  The initiative is in addition to the €30 billion already allocated to SMEs and households since the beginning of the year, as part of the more than €EUR 400 billion in support of the NRRP

·  For artisans, shopkeepers and small hotel operators, measures to combat high bills and payment system relief

· No fees on in-store POS payments up to €15 for 12 months and no fee for new mobile and virtual POS terminals for one year

Milan, 10 November 2022 – Intesa Sanpaolo is launching a €5-billion plan for initiatives in support small and very small businesses in the trade, crafts and small hotels sectors – the Group's customers include around 500,000 of them, with a turnover of up to €2.5 million – which represent the most numerous segment of Italy's economy and that most exposed to increases in energy and raw materials prices, as well as the effects of the international crisis. The risk for this segment of companies, which is predominantly made up of service sector business, is the drastic reduction in revenues in the face of soaring costs. The initiative comes in addition to the €30 billion already allocated by the Bank to SMEs and households since the beginning of the year to combat high energy prices, part of the more than €400 billion in support of the NRRP.

The plan includes liquidity measures and guaranteed financing, no fees for one year on in-store POS micropayments up to €15, no POS and commercial credit card fees for one year, discounts on insurance coverage products, and leases of business assets to keep operating costs down. The goal: to sustain small enterprises through the crisis and help them recover through digitisation, sustainability and business development projects.

The initiative, called "CresciBusiness", was presented today in Milan by Intesa Sanpaolo and shared with the main business associations of the craft, trade, services and tourism sectors, with which a memorandum of understanding was signed.

The presentation "Small Enterprises in the New Economic Scenario. Intesa Sanpaolo's Initiatives and Proposals for Artisans, Merchants and Hotel Operators" was attended by Gregorio De Felice, Chief Economist Intesa Sanpaolo, Anna Roscio, Head of the Intesa Sanpaolo Enterprise Sales and Marketing Department, Patrizia De Luise, National President Confesercenti, Paolo Ferrè, Member of the Confcommercio Board, Marco Granelli, President Confartigianato and Maurizio Naro, Member of the Federalberghi Board. Stefano Barrese, Head of Intesa Sanpaolo's Banca dei Territori Division, gave the closing address.

In Italy, there are more than 4 million companies with fewer than ten employees: 95% of all industrial and service companies. They also have a very high weight in terms of employment: they employ around 7.3 million people, 43.8% of the total. The make up the biggest group in Italy. In 2020, they recorded a turnover of €658 billion (23.5% of the total) and an added value of almost €200 billion (26.8%). This is a mainly Italian phenomenon and a crucial competitive factor for supply chains in Italy. The role of these businesses is significant in all sectors of the Italian economy, with peaks of 80% in personal services (out of the total number of employees in the sector), 62% in tourism and 55% in trade.

Italian micro enterprises have strong value-creation ability, thanks to excellent positioning in terms of quality and flexibility: for these companies, the share of value added as a percentage of turnover is 30%; it drops to 23.9% among Italian medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees). However, their propensity to invest is low and half the percentage observed among companies with at least 250 employees (2% of turnover vs. 4.1%), which has a negative impact on innovation and digitalisation. An internal Intesa Sanpaolo Group survey reveals the responses of smaller companies to the energy crisis: the focus on production efficiency is high, but the use of renewables is still low. Looking ahead, priority will remain on digital, innovation and the green transition. This is the only way for the Italian economy and micro-enterprises in particular to overcome the current critical situation and resume growth.

CresciBusiness: solutions for the crisis and growth of small businesses

Intesa Sanpaolo has developed a multifaceted programme of measures with which it is making €5 billion of new credit available immediately to tackle increased expenses and support growth. CresciBusiness provides short- and medium- to long-term financing solutions to support liquidity, energy emergency management and bill payment. An extensive credit system with particularly favourable terms to encourage investments, especially in the digital and sustainable transformation, tailored to the specific needs of individual sectors.

The initiative also significantly intervenes on the payment side, with a very wide-ranging package of facilities. Fees for POS micropayments up to €15 are have been waived until the end of 2023. In addition, mobile and virtual POS fees have been waived for one year, in addition to special corporate credit card terms. Also important are financing solutions to cover energy costs with subsidised and publicly guaranteed loans of up to 36 months, with a one-year pre-amortisation period, as well as the possibility of requesting a suspension of principal payments on existing loans.

In addition to solutions to cope with the crisis period, Intesa Sanpaolo's plan is also taking actions to support the segment's growth with collaboration of sector associations.

The new Digitalizziamo programme, which aims to develop entrepreneurs capable of growing and investing digitally even in the most complex periods over the next two years, is now under way. Thanks to the support of prestigious partners – Deloitte, Cerved, Alkemy and Nexi – companies participating in the programme will be take part in a process of visibility and enhancement, including access to advanced services and training.

In addition, various lines of financing have been activated on favourable terms for strategic sectors (Commerce and Tourism Growth, Craft Growth) and to promote investments in digital objectives through D-Loan and ESG-Loan facilities, in order to increase the development of electronic payments, accelerate digital transformation processes and increase the efficiency of the business levels of small enterprises. An innovative, sustainable form of acquiring business assets under operational leases is also available to small companies.

Specific attention has been paid to companies in the tourism and hotel sector, with subsidised lines of financing, the Tourism Suite Loans, designed to encourage the upgrading of hotel infrastructure. Tourism and hotel establishments will also be able to lease rather than purchase business assets, furnishings and accessories.

"The plan we are presenting today adds a new pillar to the initiatives that Intesa Sanpaolo has launched to support the Italian economy and population: a total of €35 billion for households, businesses, traders, hotel operators and artisans," says Stefano Barrese, head of Intesa Sanpaolo's Banca dei Territori Division. "The recent confirmations of the resilience of our economy do not conceal the difficulties of a large part of our socio-economic fabric. We are aware that, in this situation of uncertainty, trust and social cohesion are essential to responding to the crisis and to ensuring the sustainable growth that the country is pursuing. In order to provide maximum support to our 500,000 small business customers, we have taken immediate measures such as waiving fees on electronic micropayments up to €15 for one year. Our Group has never lost sight of the importance of the social and economic resilience of the country, which we have supported with more than €11 billion of disbursements to the tourism, trade and craft sectors since 2020."

About Intesa Sanpaolo

Intesa Sanpaolo is a wealth management & protection company, Italy’s leading bank and one of the most solid and profitable bank groups in Europe. It offers commercial, corporate investment banking, private banking, asset management and insurance services. The Intesa Sanpaolo Group has approximately 13.5 million customers in Italy and 7.1 million customers abroad through commercial banking subsidiaries in 12 countries in Central-Eastern Europe and Middle East and North Africa as well an international network to support corporate customers across 25 countries. Intesa Sanpaolo is recognized as one of the most sustainable banks in the world and is committed to becoming a reference model in terms of sustainability and social and cultural responsibility. Intesa Sanpaolo supports major economic inclusion and poverty reduction projects, including a €1.5 billion impact fund for loans to social groups who struggle to access credit. The Group has a €6 billion fund dedicated to the circular economy. The Group is also deeply involved in cultural initiatives in Italy and further afield, with the aim of preserving, promoting and sharing Italy’s historical and artistic heritage, also thanks to permanent and temporary exhibitions hosted at the Gallerie d’Italia, Intesa Sanpaolo’s museums located in Milan, Naples, Vicenza and, soon, Turin.

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