Strengthening the value chain
Intesa Sanpaolo’s business plan offers SME clients more than simply lending
“It’s not good enough to just offer lending services. It’s important to ensure that the company has an ecosystem that works” – Giuseppe Ferraro, Head of Corporate and SME Department, International Subsidiary Banks Division, Intesa Sanpaolo Group.
Intesa Sanpaolo’s 2022-2025 business plan will elevate the bank as a wealth management, protection and advisory leader in Europe. But it will also consolidate the bank’s strong role as a value creator for its clients through specific supply-chain financing solutions.
As Intesa Sanpaolo is a global group – with a presence in North America, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia – and can support its clients regardless of location.
But that’s not all, says Giuseppe Ferraro, Head of Corporate and SME Department, International Subsidiary Banks Division, Intesa Sanpaolo Group: “What we really do differently from other local banks is offer a broad scope of services.”
“When we talk about investment banking, for example, we have an excellent knowledge of how the sectors work and their challenges, allowing us to provide our clients with tailor-made services.”
For example, Ferraro says, the bank is tackling issues caused by the current cost of raw materials and “thanks to synergies with the bank’s IMI Corporate & Investment Banking division, we can offer a wide range of services for hedging needs”.
Intesa Sanpaolo is particularly good at offering value to local brands. “Italy is the second-biggest manufacturer in the EU and one of the biggest buyers of goods,” says Ferraro.
“We want to be the top bank in ESG, and this is reflected in our business plan” – Giuseppe Ferraro, Head of Corporate and SME Department, International Subsidiary Banks Division, Intesa Sanpaolo Group.
“Trade between Italian companies and the companies covered by our international subsidiaries is strong. And we are always working to improve the services we offer to our clients – both in Italy and internationally.”
There is a range of projects already in place to do this – including work with the Banca dei Territori division to support the supply chain of Italian companies with suppliers based in its Eastern European countries and Egypt.
The value chain is vitally important to the bank. “It’s not good enough to just offer lending services,” says Ferraro. “It’s important to ensure that the company has an ecosystem that works.”
Intesa Sanpaolo is also working to help Italian clients invest and make deals in other markets where the bank has been growing its presence. “We want to make trade easier between geographies,” says Ferraro, “and offer dedicated services specific to each value chain.”
There is a lot of interest in energy, particularly the green economy. “In this period – with what’s happening in Ukraine and all the issues relating to gas and oil supplies – green energy has become more critical.
“We have a team working in synergy with the IMI Corporate & Investment Banking division to provide our clients with structured finance solutions for renewable energy projects – that’s something in which the group has strong expertise.”
A green transition to a circular economy is a crucial target for Intesa Sanpaolo. “We want to be the top bank in ESG [environmental, social and governance],” says Ferraro, “and this is reflected in our business plan.”
The International Subsidiary Banks Division, in synergy with the Group’s ESG teams, is very active. “Last year, we originated 33 opportunities,” says Ferraro, “and just in the first quarter of this year, we were at 25 deals, of which 20 have already been approved.”
Fifteen of these are in the manufacturing sector (14 circular-economy related). Ferraro also anticipates increased opportunities in the agriculture and food and beverages sectors.
In addition, Intesa Sanpaolo is working with corporates and SMEs to access recovery plan opportunities, monitoring them at the local government level and working with local subsidiary banks to monitor the evolution of projects under the European Resilience and Recovery Plan.
The bank is in a solid position to carry out these plans.
In the first quarter of this year, the International Subsidiary Banks Division has increased revenues by 6.6% YoY – which, says Ferraro, “is a great achievement when you consider that the world is in real turmoil right now”.
He adds: “We have managed to increase loan volumes by 11% YoY, showing a true commitment to helping our corporate and SME clients to grow notwithstanding the macro context.”
But it all comes down to how this benefits its clients.
As well as thinking local, the bank uses its capabilities to give a truly global perspective to its clients. “The biggest thing we offer to our clients is the power of the Group,” says Ferraro. “When the bank operates as a group, we can offer real value.”