2019 was another year of substantial acquisition of new clients. In the corporate area our client base grew by almost 2,800 corporates and reached around 26,500 customers at the end of the year. We attracted around 217,000 retail clients in Poland and 34,000 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As of end of 2019 we were servicing 5.6 million of retail customers on three markets.
One of the most important circumstances impacting our activity in 2019 was the intention of our main shareholder to put mBank on the market. The first official information concerning the sale of mBank was communicated by Commerzbank in its announcement on September 20, 2019. In 2020 Commerzbank decided to terminate the sales process and keep mBank’s shares. This decision was partly influenced by the economic disruption caused by an outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020, resulting in multiple challenges for the banking sector.
At mBank we want to be among leaders of social responsibility in the banking sector, therefore sustainable growth gains our rising attention. We intend to be a responsible creditor and curb our indirect impact on the environment. Starting from April 2019 we decided to limit funding for hard coal and lignite mines. Earlier, we adopted a focused Renewable Energy Sources (RES) financing policy. We increased the amount of funds dedicated to RES from the initial PLN 500 million to PLN 2 billion in 2020. The sustainable financing path is followed also by the subsidiaries from mBank Group. For instance, mLeasing provided an offer of photovoltaic panels for SME customers.
We do not forget about the social area of our activity. Thanks to the grants, competitions and numerous actions, mFundacja (mFoundation) supports the mathematic education of children and adolescents. We regularly run social campaigns aimed at education about cyber threats and promoting secure behaviour when using the internet. We are a strategic partner and a sponsor of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP), one of the biggest NGOs in Poland. We provide financial servicing during the finals and channel own resources to support WOŚP. In 2019 we organised a charity art auction from mBank’s collection that added funds to the foundation’s account.
In December 2019 we adopted a new Strategy of mBank Group for 2020-2023, titled “Growth fuelled by our clients”. This strategy is our response to the changing market and regulatory environment as well as anticipated, upcoming trends. Its four pillars: focus on clients, development of our platform and application, continued improvement of operational efficiency, and people making up our organisation – reflect the key elements of our business model. For the first time ever, the corporate social responsibility/ESG strategy is an integral part of the document. As a Group we intend to run our business in compliance with the sustainable development rules. We want to educate people, protect the climate and environment, and promote prosperity. We formulated our goals being guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global sustainability goals set by the UN to be reached by 2030. We also constantly support the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact initiative, of which we are a signatory.
All of these, and many other aspects of initiatives pursued by our Group are described in this report. I encourage you to reading it.