Dialogue with consumer associations

The key elements in our dealings with consumer associations are reflected in the consolidated and structured relationship built up over time, in the fullest possible collective nature in relations and the mutual respect of roles. Internally, the objective is to improve our focus on consumers in our business culture - intended not as a self-referencing operation, but as an openness to dialogue which makes the Bank able to use the skills acquired by consumers.
The response to specific and system criticalities reported by citizens/customers to the associations focused on issues of mortgage subrogation and renegotiation, the overdraft charge and the implementation of the decree-laws regarding consumer protection. Initiatives were launched through the associations for the responsible use of money and the prevention of over-indebtedness and usury by promoting at the associations the financial check-up tool and support in listening to families in need. During this period of crisis, communications with the consumer associations regarding the Group’s initiatives affecting the discontinuation of mortgages instalment payments and credit to households and small businesses have been improved.
We pursued our commitment to the Consumers' Forum - the first national roundtable that brings together Italian consumer associations and companies - to study and disseminate issues regarding consumers’ protection, serving as a single point of reference with institutions, universities and the media.
The Roundtable on Conciliation and Responsible Lending in 2009 continued discussion on the claims raised in 2008 regarding the conciliation procedure for Parmalat bonds to the former customers of Sanpaolo. At the end of 2009, the conciliation roundtables met 464 times and assessed a total of 10,990 claims. Of these, 4,239 received compensation proposals totalling nearly 11.8 million euro. Compensation pertains to 38.6% of claims examined and amount to 5.7% of the amount invested in Parmalat bonds for all claims processed and 13.2%, if only taking into account claims with compensation proposals.
The examination of claims will be completed by the first semester of 2010.Conciliation roundtables

The standing conciliation procedure, which concerns products offered to individual customers (current accounts and linked payment cards, mortgages and personal loans), already extended to customers of the Sanpaolo network in 2007, represents a tool to be used to preserve and strengthen the relationship of trust between the Bank and its customers and an additional opportunity to ensure customers’ full satisfaction with the quality of the products and services used. It is the first agreement of its kind in Europe, and it was made possible through dialogue and the long-term relationships established with consumer associations. The conciliation procedure is simple, free of charge and rapid (maximum case resolution time is 60 days). Customers may decide to participate without incurring any expense and knowing that the procedure will in no way jeopardise any other processes that they should wish to undertake, even at a later date, to protect their interests.
A total of 187 claims were received in 2009.