• The bank sets up a simultaneous interpretation service and adapts its documents and internal training materials to make it easy for newly arrived individuals from Ukraine to sign up for basic financial services.
• Customers in vulnerable situations, like war refugees, can open a Social Account at CaixaBank, which includes a checking account, a bank card and access to online banking free of charge.
• The initiative is the latest addition to the package of measures launched by CaixaBank to support the civilian population affected by the conflict, which includes free use of CaixaBank’s ATMs by the holders of Ukrainian bank cards, and free monetary transfers to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
• CaixaBank’s platform for fee-free contributions to humanitarian organisations working on the ground in Ukraine has already facilitated the transfer of €2.6 million in donations.
CaixaBank has started to leverage its network of branches in Spain to assist individuals fleeing the war in Ukraine who have requested asylum as refugees. This service, which is already active, includes both a specific product - CaixaBank's Social Account, which underpins a package of basic financial services at no cost for customers in need - and measures to facilitate communications with advisers at the bank in order to help the customers understand the required documents and contracts.
More specifically, CaixaBank has implemented an interpretation service that branches can request as needed. Any employee working with individuals arriving from Ukraine will be able to receive assistance from a translator, who will be virtually present at the meeting between the adviser and the customer and act as an interpreter between them.
Furthermore, CaixaBank already offers specially adapted documents for customers and employees assisting them in the opening of a Social Account. Ukrainians who open a Social Account will be able to have a document with the conditions of the service translated into their language.
Additionally, CaixaBank employees have been equipped with tailored training materials, with detailed instructions outlining the account opening process for Ukrainians including photographs of Ukrainian identification documents that can be used to open the account.
CaixaBank's Social Account, a free product for vulnerable groups
CaixaBank’s Social Account is the bank’s product helping to ensure the financial inclusion of people who provide proof of their vulnerable situation, such as war refugees and political asylum seekers with little income. The Social Account has been part of the bank's offering since 2014 and includes several basic services as part of the free product. As of January 2022, CaixaBank had 246,771 Social Accounts.
The Social Account offers a checking account, a debit card, access to e-banking (online and via the CaixaBankNow app) and free use of CaixaBank ATMs, including check deposits. The account can have one or multiple holders and it has no service fees. This product offers similar features to other accounts, but in this case the client can only have this kind of account within CaixaBank.
As is the case with any other customer, holders of a Social Account have to justify their situation and provide the necessary personal documentation. There are also limits on the monthly income and balance, with the maximum of €600 a month in income from salary, social benefits or both, and an average monthly balance of up to €2,000.
Free use of ATMs and free transfers
In addition to the specialised service available in the CaixaBank branches, Ukrainian refugees in Spain are eligible for several free services, regardless of which bank they use.
CaixaBank already permits customers of Ukrainian banks to use its entire network of ATMs in Spain - the country's largest with 13,000 terminals - for free. Similarly, since early March, the company has been offering free transfers to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, where Ukrainian civilians seek refuge: Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.
General package of measures
Since early March, in the wake of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CaixaBank has spearheaded a wide-ranging package of measures to help the civilian population affected by the conflict.
The company has collaborated with the CaixaBank Volunteers Association, with more than 5,000 members spread throughout Spain, to mobilise a convoy of buses to be sent to the Polish-Ukrainian border and evacuate individuals who wish to request asylum in Spain. A total of 204 Ukrainians, mostly young women with children, have already arrived in Spain thanks to this initiative, and a second convoy is scheduled to leave in a few days.
CaixaBank has also launched an initiative amongst its employees to raise funds that will go to relocating refugees. All CaixaBank Group employees have received an invitation to donate funds, which the company has pledged to match at the end of the crowdfunding campaign. The funds are managed by the CaixaBank Volunteers Association.
The CaixaBank volunteers are supporting various NGOs in whatever means necessary to help them in their effort to provide assistance to the Ukrainian people. The volunteers are taking part in initiatives to collect medications, non-perishable foods and essential goods that, depending on the needs of the organisations specialising in aiding the refugees, can help recent arrivals in Spain or be sent to Ukraine.
Free transfer of donations to the humanitarian organisations working on the ground
These initiatives are in addition to the platform CaixaBank has put in place to facilitate direct donations to the humanitarian organisations that are working on the ground. This service facilitates transfers of contributions from anyone - whether a Bank customer or not - who is interested to help. Donations can be made for free using any method: via online account, ATMs and in branches.
To date, the CaixaBank platform has facilitated the transfer of more than €2.6 million. The contributions go to the non-government organisations (NGO) taking part in this initiative. Any individual or corporate entity making a contribution can choose the organisation to donate, with the cotribution being fully traceable.
About CaixaBank's Social Action
CaixaBank is an organisation with a far-reaching social vocation. The bank is a benchmark in socially responsible banking and has a steadfast commitment to serving not only its customers but also the wider society
In its response to the challenges faced by society, among other measures, the bank drives social action initiatives and promotes voluntary work, whilst also offering services and solutions different societal groups through its financial activity.
The strategy for Social Action is aimed at promoting CaixaBank's own social projects, joint projects with the "la Caixa" Foundation, as well as other partnerships directly promoted by the bank. Thanks to its territorial capillarity and proximity to the population, the CaixaBank branch network, which is the largest in Spain with presence in 2,200 municipalities, can detect local needs by implementing various programmes, as well as support the "la Caixa" Foundation in transferring financial aid to social organisations.
CaixaBank’s ESG activities have been recognised by leading international bodies. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index ranks it among the best banks in the world in terms of corporate responsibility. Similarly, the international organisation CDP has named CaixaBank as the leading bank in the fight against climate change. In addition, United Nations has allocated its subsidiaries, VidaCaixa and CaixaBank Asset Management the highest rating (A+) in sustainable investment.