Crisis management & business continuity - Covid-19
In the course of March 2020, Italy was the first European nation of many to be impacted by the explosion of a healthcare crisis unprecedented in modern times.
The Covid-19 pandemic sent the entire country into a sudden and unexpected lockdown in an attempt to try and limit the effects of the contagion which nonetheless has had massive consequences in human, social and economic terms.
Even though no-one could have been ready to face such a crisis, the growing culture of risk management and technology that has been developing among banks and institutions meant that the response has been swift and decisive.
The Mediobanca Group, with our strong governance structure and solid, effective technology platform, has quickly adapted to the new means of working imposed by the circumstances.
Technology has allowed Group staff to work safely from home, and without interruptions to the service offered to our clients either in branch offices or via remote channels.
Through donations made by the Group companies plus a fund-raising campaign among staff, the Mediobanca Group has also donated more than €1m to support those affected by the pandemic and those on the front line in fighting it.
CRISIS MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT
- New crisis unit
Mediobanca set up a Crisis Unit after the first hotspot was announced on 28 February 2020, to manage the emergency situation and to guarantee the safety of both staff and clients. The Crisis Unit is headed up by the Group General Manager Saverio Vinci, and comprises the heads of the Operations, Risk Management, Human Resources, Compliance and Communications areas
- New decrees incorporated promptly
As well as monitoring the decrees issued and adapting its operations to the guidelines contained in them, the Bank is also committed to ensuring its staff are fully updated at all times regarding developments in emergency, by sending out regular newsletters
- Security measures in offices and branches
The Bank is in close contact with our workplace doctors and the healthcare facilities used by the Group, to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to guarantee the maximum safety at its premises and the various branch offices
- Reporting and regular briefings
To enable the Crisis Unit to monitor and manage the emergency situation as effectively as possible, a reporting system has been implemented which includes daily reports on key indicators and regular briefing sessions on more general issues
MEDIOBANCA GROUP PROTECTING ITS STAFF
The main measures adopted to protect staff in this period fall into the following categories:
- Safety and organization
- All health and safety protocols activated in order to protect staff and clients
- Large-scale incentivization to staff to work from home, meaning approx. 3,300 employees or some 70% of the total workforce
- Rollout of Group-wide professional collaboration platform to facilitate working from home
- All business travel and meetings in Italy and elsewhere cancelled, with priority given to online tools for holding meetings
- Reduction of working hours for CheBanca! branch offices to just mornings, with operations conducted via appointments at both CheBanca! and Compass, and online and technology-based channels enhanced
- Additional, Covid-19-related healthcare coverage offered to Group staff and FAs, and existing welfare instruments extended
- Counselling and psychological service initiated, active 24/7 and available to all Group staff
- Information and communication
- Dedicated section of Mediobanca and Group intranet updated consistently with useful information and documents on the emergency
- Legal newsletter: regular briefings on the legal and regulatory implications of the emergency
- Webinars on issues relating to managing the emergency operationally and emotionally: mindfulness, resilience and communication in times of crisis
- Video tutoring for parents with children aged 0-6 and teenagers
- Webinars on how to manage meeting using online tools, posture and health and safety issues when working from home
- Course on cyber security
MEDIOBANCA GROUP Supporting the community through donations
- A total of €1.2m has been donated to the region of Lombardy, municipality of Milan and the Luigi Sacco Hospital by the Group and by its staff, who took part enthusiastically in an internal fund-raising campaign. The amount includes €100,000 donated by Compagnie Monégasque de Banque to hospitals in Monaco to acquire PPE for the staff working there;
- In April, CheBanca! decided to donate 1x1000 of new tied deposits secured on the back of a promotional campaign; the first €300,000 has already been donated to non-profit organization “Hope” to acquire ventilators, portable ultrasound machines and PPE;
- Chairman Renato Pagliaro, CEO Alberto Nagel and Group General Manager Francesco Saverio Vinci have all waived the emoluments payable in respect of their positions as Board members for FY 2019-20 (Mediobanca will donate these amounts to solidarity initiatives in connection with the healthcare crisis), and have committed to donating 30 percent of their fixed salaries for May-December 2020 to initiatives linked to the emergency, to be chosen from a group of non-profit organizations and entities to be selected by the Group CRS Committee. The Directors and Statutory Auditors of Mediobanca will also contribute 20% of their annual emoluments to support these initiatives.
Technology and business continuity
The Mediobanca Group has for a long time seen technology as a distinguishing feature in business to meet changing client needs for flexibility. The strategic plan adopted in November 2020 made substantial provision for growth in the Group’s distribution capacity, including a substantial programme of capex to support increasing digitalization.
Clients and staff, the principal beneficiaries of this strategic decision, have received assurance of business continuity in the face this emergency as a result of the work carried out to enhance the IT infrastructure. As of today something like 70% of the Group’s staff are working regularly from home while guaranteeing clients the high service levels to which they have become accustomed to associate with the name Mediobanca.
The Group’s retail companies have a multi-channel product and service offering which allows access to clients without them having to leave the safety of their own homes. As part of the multi-channel approach offered to clients, the regional branches are almost all open, often with reduced hours and access managed by appointment, and fitted out to ensure that the risk of infection among those present is reduced to a minimum.
The COVID-19 emergency has created the need for extraordinary legislative measures to support the economy, such as the so-called “Heal Italy” decree or the agreement signed by the Italian Banking Association ABI. The Mediobanca Group is considering extending these measures to categories not specifically covered by the regulations themselves to support particular instances of need.
Governance processes: in order to intervene promptly and assist its clients, anti-crisis measures have been instituted with dedicated teams and simplified processing procedures implemented at the various companies to speed up the ordinary processes.
- Overhaul of website to provide focus on multi-channel approach, digital security, branch access, and in general terms on specific issues related to the legislation introduced (e.g. applications to have mortgage payments suspended).
- Communications programme to provide information on:
- Use of digital channels, online payments and IT security
- New arrangements for branch offices and customer service hours
- Market trends and managing investments.
- Promotion to encourage liquidity as a temporary asset management solution at a time of high volatility. The promotion itself is linked to a further initiative to support the emergency (“Mediobanca Supporting the Emergency”).
- Process governance
- Revision of processes to allow operations that previously could only be managed in person to be managed electronically.
MB Private Banking, on the back of the solid relationship of trust it has built with its clients over the years, has provided help to those clients who wish to express their sense of social and local responsibility by making a tangible contribution to the current emergency situation. The Group’s bankers have:
- Provided advice on structuring investment vehicles and companies to allow donations to be made to entities and initiatives to provide economic support and for charitable purposes
- Facilitated the sourcing of sanitary tools and equipment through our exclusive relations with the manufacturers
- Encouraged contact between clients and healthcare firms, charitable institutions and regional administrations to allow them to make their financial contributions or provide materials.
- Immediate action
- Specific communications with simplified instructions for payments from home and bar codes generated automatically via smart phones to allow payments to be made via supermarket checkouts as well
- Governance and processes
- Pure digital channel enhanced to allow loan applications to be submitted independently from home
- New pathway for contacting branch office created on website www.compass.it (for use via PC/smart phone): the client is contracted electronically within 24 hours, after which they can proceed to apply for credit (documents are signed on appointment at the branch office, or using advanced digital signature technologies with the documents sent via email).
Corporate & Investment Banking
The Corporate & Investment Banking division provides ongoing support to its clients on all products offered by the respective areas:
- Management of impact and/or risks of Corporate Finance and Equity Capital Markets deals in progress
- New deals structured to guarantee financial flexibility and solid ownership structures with long-term prospects
- Identification of growth opportunities post-crisis for acquisitions in Italy and elsewhere
- Understanding the extraordinary measures launched by the government to allow rapid access to instruments such as:
- Obtaining suspensions to existing credit lines;
- Access to new finance with or without state guarantees
- Providing liquidity to support clients to help meet their immediate needs and given them the necessary financial flexibility
- Assistance in identifying alternative sources to bank finance
- Dedicated customer support service set up promptly to assist clients at a time of high market stress
- Definition and execution of interest rate, forex, credit and equity risk mitigation strategies
- Identification of investment opportunities in all asset classes, both short-term and with a medium/long-term strategic rationale
- Timely information on available support published in a dedication section on the Covid-19 emergency on the companies’ website.
COVIDE-19: INFORMATION FOR CUSTOMERS
|Suspension of loan and mortgage instalments payable under Italian Decree Law 18/20 (the “Heal Italy” decree||
Micro, small and medium sized enterprises as defined by Commission Recommendation no. 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003, including self-employed, based in Italy which find themselves temporarily in financial difficulties directly as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and which, as at 17 March 2020, did not have debt positions classified as non-performing.
Suspension of payments falling due from 17 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, with the possibility of choosing whether to suspend the entire payment or merely the principal amount. The provision covers mortgages and loans, including short-term loans repayable by instalments (e.g. 18 months – 1 day). Interest will continue to be calculated during the suspension period at the rate stipulated in the contract. The application for suspension can be made at any time until 30 September 2020 for instalments that have not yet fallen due.
If you meet the requisites stipulated in the “Heal Italy” decree, contact your banker to obtain the forms to be filled in.
|New instructions on access to branch offices as a result of the COVID-19 emergency||
In order to prevent and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Mediobanca Group invites its clients to check first, with your relationship banker, whether or not you can perform the operations you need to from home without actually having to come to the bank.
Until further notice, access to our branch offices is by appointment only, in order to protect the health and safety of both our clients and staff, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the government in order to address the healthcare emergency.
Please note that persons with flu-like symptoms such as a temperature, cough, difficulties in breathing etc. will not be allowed to enter our branch offices, and will be asked to contact their GP and/or the relevant local health authority.Click here to download the latest self-certification form link: https://www.interno.gov.it
|Extension of terms for responding to complaints on insurance products||
For complaints regarding insurance products, the Italian sector regulator IVASS has allowed companies and brokers extra time to respond versus the deadlines set by law (regulations no. 24/2008 and 41/2018), to ensure that all complaints made by clients receive the attention they deserve even in this time of unprecedented crisis.
Responses must therefore be given to complaints received within 75 days rather than 45 as previously.
If the client does not receive a response within the above timeframe or is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint they have made, they are invited, before taking legal action, to contact Link: http://www.mediobanca.it/en/transparency.html
Please note that the suspension of all deadlines in the procedure pending with the ombudsman, imposed until 15 April 2020, has now been extended until 11 May 2020; this further extension does not regard the deadline for brokers to respond to complaints made by clients.
Consob, in view of the crisis situation brought about by Covid-19, has decided to further extend the suspension of all proceedings in course with the ombudsman, from 16 April to 11 May 2020 (the original suspension period was from 12 March to 15 April 2020 (see link: Consob resolution n. 21328 del 15 aprile 2020).
|Bonifici destinati a raccolte fondi per l’emergenza sanitaria||
To express support to those working on the front line in this situation and at the invitation of the Italian banking association ABI, starting from April and for as long as the current emergency continues, no commissions will be payable on money transfers to the Civil Protection, Red Cross, hospitals and other organizations made to dedicated current accounts to help in the COVID-19 emergency.
For further information on the organizations and entities covered by this measure, please consult the following list
Please see the Q&A section on the Italian Ministry for the Economy’s website at:link http://www.mef.gov.it/covid-19/faq.html