Banca popolare dell’Emila Romagna, whose head office is in Modena, is the leader bank of Gruppo BPER, the sixth Italian banking group according to number of branches (about 1,300). The total number of clients is about 2 million.
Gruppo BPER is a federal body composed of 11 local banks, each with its commercial autonomy and deep-rooted in their home territories. This organisation has allowed to combine the closeness to typical customers of local banks with operational efficiency, the quality of services and the economies of scale that only big size organisations can guarantee.
Currently, Gruppo BPER is composed of the following commercial banks: Banca popolare dell’Emilia Romagna, Eurobanca del Trentino, Banca CRV, Banca Popolare di Ravenna, Banca Popolare di Aprilia, Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia dell’Aquila, Banca Popolare di Lanciano e Sulmona, Banca della Campania, Banca Popolare del Mezzogiorno, Banco di Sardegna, and Banca di Sassari.
Moreover, banks specialised in private and corporate banking, as well as numerous insurance companies, leasing companies, factoring companies, asset management and service companies, have joined the group.
Through a tight network of partnerships and shareholdings, BPER guarantees an effective presence to its clients in Central-European countries, thanks to the many “Italian Desks” which are operational in local banks. Furthermore, the group is present in representative offices in Shanghai and Hong-Kong.
BPER was established as Banca Popolare di Modena in 1867, thanks to the effort of Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso (Mutual Aid Workers’ Association), in order to favour savings, and to fund the economic initiatives of the popular and working social classes. In 1883, the Bank General Assembly resolved to transform the bank into a cooperative, and in 1890 each shareholder was assigned one and one vote only in the assembly, regardless of the number of shares owned. These were two decisions that would mark the bank in a permanent way, by making it comply with the principles of participation and economic democracy that still constitute its essence today.
In the following decades, the Bank’s number of branches increased even outside the town of Modena, thus becoming the protagonist of the economic development of the territory (for instance, the creation of ‘Magazzini Generali’ (warehouses), financing for the realisation of important public works, funds to the University, etc.).
Besides such interventions, it is important to mention the remarkable support provided to the micro-enterprises that were started after World War Two in the province, also thanks to the development of the first craft centres.
In the early 1970s, an important process of expansion outside the area of Modena took place, through the merger of many local cooperative banks: Banca Popolare di Castelfranco Emilia (1973), Banca Popolare Agricola Commerciale di Fabbrico (1975), Banca Popolare Cooperativa Consorziale di Castelnuovo di Sotto, Banca Cooperativa Valtarese, and Banca Popolare Cooperativa Bedoniese (1979).
On 1 January 1984, Banca Popolare di Modena merged with Banca Cooperativa di Bologna (founded in 1882), thus giving birth to Banca Popolare dell’Emilia, with its head office in Modena. Three years later, in 1987, Banca Popolare di Cavezzo merged as well. In 1992, Banca Popolare dell’Emilia merged with Banca Popolare di Cesena (founded in 1873), taking the current name of Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna.
History of Gruppo BPER
In 1994, the project of constituting a federal banking group became real through the acquisition of numerous local banks, which maintained their autonomy and territorial roots. Between 1994 and 2004, the following banks were bought, but most of them kept their autonomy: Banca Popolare di Ravenna, Cassa Rurale di Sicignano degli Alburni, Banca Popolare del Materano, Banca Popolare di Lanciano e Sulmona, Banca CRV – Cassa di Risparmio di Vignola, Banca Popolare di Crotone, Credito Commerciale Tirreno, Banca Popolare della Val d’Agri, Banca del Monte di Foggia, Banca Popolare del Sinni, Banca Popolare di Aprilia, Banca Popolare di Castrovillari e Corigliano Calabro, Banca Popolare di Salerno, Carispaq- Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia dell’Aquila, Banca Popolare dell’Irpinia, Banco di Sardegna, and Banca di Sassari, Eurobanca del Trentino.
Instead, Banca Popolare di Crotone, Banca Popolare del Materano, Banca Popolare della Val d’Agri, Banca Popolare del Sinni merged into the current Banca Popolare del Mezzogiorno. Banca Popolare dell’Irpinia, Banca del Monte di Foggia, Banca Popolare di Salerno, Credito Commerciale Tirreno, and Cassa Rurale di Sicigano degli Alburni merged into the current Banca della Campania. In 2009, Gruppo Meliorbanca, specialised in corporate and private banking, joined the group.
Links: www.BPER.it, www.gruppoBPER.it
Editor: Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna, Gruppo BPER