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The Group's History

The Sellas: a businesspeople family

Click to openThe Sellas have been operating as businesspeople ever since the 2nd half of the 16th century, when they did business in the textile sector. During the following centuries, they emerged and got distinguished in the textile sector, as well as in agriculture, due to vine cultivation. They cultivated the vine with whose grapes the Lessona and Bramaterra wines started to be produced, which still currently are a major feature of the Sellas Farms production.

The Sellas took the first steps in industrialising textile business in their zone of origin (the Valle di Mosso Valley) and then in Biella, about in the middle of 19th century. In 1817, Pietro Sella introduced the first power spinning machines being imported from Belgium in the family's woolen mill in Valle Mosso. Thanks to subsequent innovations, power looms were introduced in the Biella mill, located along the Cervo brook, in the 1870s. This was the Maurizio Sella Woolen Mill, in which Maurizio Sella had relocated its business since 1835 and in which the Group's Corporate Data Centre, the Corporate University and the SellaLab startup incubation & acceleration lab are to be found today.

The Bank: its origins

Click to openQuintino Sella (1827-1884) can be regarded as the one who inspired the creation of the banking institution being named after the family and still today headquartered in Biella. Quintino held the office of Finance Minister of the freshly united Kingdom of Italy for three times. In addition, he was a leader of the Italian Historical Right Wing, he founded the Alpine Club of Italy in 1863 and reconstituted the Accademia dei Lincei Scientists Academy in the 1870s.

Click to openIn addition, Quintino's brother Giuseppe Venanzio made a key contribution to this. Indeed, he paved the way for the Sellas to create a family-owned bank. In Giuseppe Venanzio's view, it was very important for the money savings to flow towards investments in industry, provided that this flow took place in a watchful way.

This was precisely the goal that his third-born brother Gaudenzio was to pursue later. Indeed, he founded the banking institution being at the origin of the current Gruppo Banca Sella together with 6 brothers and cousins of him. On 23 August 1886, the act of founding the "Gaudenzio Sella & C." company was officially registered. Said company's object was to "perform banking trade activities such as discounts, loan credits, current accounts, dealing with valuable & securities and so on", as the instrument of incorporation stated. Gaudenzio Sella (1860-1934) led the banking institution till he died. He used the reflection capability he was gifted with to get the institution managed in a proper and cautious way.

The 20th Century: a major development era

As Gaudenzio died in the 1930s, the bank was sound; under its new management, it started to get differentiated, as well as to expand beyond the extent of a local bank. Indeed, no other bank counters had been opened but the one at the headquarters up to that time.
Firstly Ernesto and latterly Giorgio (both being born to Gaudenzio) initiated a development and expansion policy. In 1937, the first branch of the Bank being located outside Biella was opened in Ponzone Trivero. Then, two further branches opened in Cossato and Vallemosso in 1939 and 1941 respectively. In 1949, the Bank turned into a public limited company with Ernesto as its Chairman and Giorgio as its Chief Executive Officer. 5 branches in the Biella territory were opened after WWII. At the dawn of the 1960s, the bank expanded to cover the Province territory, too.

Click to openThe Registered Office Building was erected in the 1960s at Via Italia, i.e. Biella Main Street. Ernesto and Giorgio strongly fostered the banking institution and Maurizio, Ernesto's son, who started working in said institution in 1966, also strongly promoted it. He was a 24-years old graduated student in Economics & Commerce. After having gained experience in the family-owned farms, he started working as a teller. He then moved up to managing credit lines and other tasks and concluded its internship as Accountancy & Organisation Supervisor. He became the Bank General Manager and Chief Executive Officer by his uncle Giorgio's side. Giorgio became the Chairman as Maurizio's father departed in 1974.

The Bank kept expanding at the end of the 1970s in Turin and Cuneo Provinces, as well as in the Aosta Valley. The branch number grew from 10 branches in 1966 to 17 branches in 1980. 100 years after it had been founded, the Bank opened its Turin Offices at Piazza Castello. The expansion that had been achieved allowed for the Gruppo Banca Sella to be founded in August 1992. In 1992, there existed 65 branches having grown to more than 300 today. This also happened through the acquisition of as many as 13 local banking institutions as from the 1980s.

How The Gruppo Banca Sella is today

Click to openAs Giorgio Sella died in 2000, Maurizio Sella became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Banca Sella and the Group leading bank. His son Pietro, who is an engineer like his great-grandfather and bank founder and who had spent 8 years working in the company, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Banca Sella in 2002. Since 2006, the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Banca Sella Holding Group leading bank is Pietro Sella.

Today, the Gruppo Banca Sella may avail itself of more than 300 branches. It is a diversified entity being made up of several companies that work in various geographical zones and offer a wide range of products and banking & financial services. A functions multiplicity bringing together the specialisation benefits and the possibility of meeting every Customer's needs in a 'tailor-made' way.


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Currently, the Group is comprised of three banks, Banca Sella Holding, Banca Sella and Banca Patrimoni Sella & C.; the latter specialises in asset management & administration both for private and government customers. The Group provides full-scope services such as, among other things, savings asset management, mutual investment funds & open-end investment companies, internet banking & online trading, insurance products, leasing & hire-purchase financing, trust services, payment, corporate finance and consumer lending services. The Group's presence also extends abroad - namely in India and Romania - through entities dealing with application software development and services.

Since 2010, the Banca Sella's and Gruppo Banca Sella's New Registered Office Building is in activity at Piazza Gaudenzio Sella no. 1, in Biella. The building has been designed having regard to the principle of the customers service being central, like the Building at Viale Italia in the past. The Customer 'is there' both in the branch offices located at the ground floor (where both traditional counters and an e-banking area are to be found) and in the contact centre. This is the very heart of customers support and relationship by phone. Thanks to open spaces, numerous meeting rooms, other common & meeting spaces (i.e. the restaurant and break rooms), as well as the corporate child care centre, the building architectural design is aimed at stimulating mutual acquaintance, exchange of ideas and ease of meeting. The ultimate purpose is thus the one of developing team work, cooperation spirit, knowledge sharing, process quality and decision-making speed.

Università Aziendale (The Corporate University)

In 2011 the inauguration of the Group's Corporate University Building took place. This building was the result of the former Maurizio Sella Woolen Mill in Biella being very thoroughly revamped. The Gruppo Banca Sella's training centre is characterised in that it has modern classrooms and a technologically ground-breaking auditorium. They have been designed to render training actions more effective and thus enabling distance attendance and training to take place.

Training activities are at the very heart of the people management and development policy and purport to:

  • spread the company's values and culture
  • develop managing skills and hard skills
  • back research & innovation
  • cooperate with national & international universities and training centres

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Tradition and Innovation

The Gruppo Banca Sella's culture and values have kept unchanged since the Group was founded, over 120 years ago. This culture and these values are based on:

  • Orientation towards independence and autonomy building on prudence & trust
  • Being strongly locally-rooted and attached to the traditional value of knowing and attending the Customer.
  • A full offer range with broad product choice and high diversification,


enabling us to get distinguished to our customers thanks to Trust, Quality, Personal Relationship and Innovation.

Innovation is a tradition of the Group

  • In the 1960s, the first bank that provided real time service at counters was Banca Sella.
  • New solutions creators (for example, the mini-cheques. They were the forerunners of payment cards)
  • Ranking in e-commerce leading businesses in Italy
  • Ranking in the main Online Trading Brokers
  • standing among the top-ranking finance websites
  • Ranking in the main electronic payment system operators (Points of Sale, credit cards)

Banca Sella & the digital world

Banca Sella's development is since ever based on innovation as a means for better customers service provision and process improvement.
This recent history began in 1996, when a decision was made to consider payment instruments as a real business opportunity and to directly manage them from Biella. In this field, Banca Sella is a principal member of both Visa and Mastercard since 1996. At the time, just 4 banking institutions in Italy had the same convention in place with payment circuits.
In 1997, Banca Sella was one of the first Italian banks that launched home banking service enabling customers to perform bank transactions online.

The first online account of Italy was launched in May 1998. Shortly beforehand, i.e. in September 1997, the first real time trading operation in the Italian share market through the internet had been carried out. This was the first step towards online trading services.

On 1998 Christmas Day Banca Sella joined the 1st European e-commerce initiative. This was promoted by Microsoft and Yahoo and Italy was represented within it by two online stores; one of them belonged to an entrepreneur from Biella buying and selling ties. Banca Sella used to manage payments. The idea thus arose to develop an online payment system which turned into the Gestpay platform. Thanks to this platform, the Group is currently a leader in said sector. Still in this field, in 2002, Banca Sella was the first bank that provided on the Italian market the "Verified by Visa" authentication system in cooperation with VISA. Today, a large number of enterprises dealing with e-commerce in Italy avail themselves of the Banca Sella Gestpay platform.

The brand was created in 2000. Through it, the Group was one of the first entities in Italy that grasped the potential offered by mobile banking services. Therefore, it firstly launched "La Tua Banca in Tasca" (Your Bank in a Pocket) and then the first iPhone app in 2008. With the permission of Apple Inc., this app was specifically conceived for the Italian market and enabled customers to perform transactions on their current accounts. Two years later, the Group developed an iPad application for this purpose. It was one of the first entities that did this in Italy.

Still in 2008, the portal was refashioned according to the cooperation and social media logics by creating the customers Community ("La Banca Che Piace", i.e. The Bank Everyone Likes). In it, you can rate products and services, share ideas and impart suggestions. In that same year, CartaLIS IMEL resulted from a convention between Banca Sella and the Lottomatica Italian Public Game Management company. This was the first e-money institute in Italy issuing and managing payment instruments.

Sella Digit, the digital signature service enabling customers to sign banking documents from their computer systems, saw the light in 2011.

The UP Mobile service was launched in 2012. This is a ground-breaking payment system through smartphone.

In February 2015 a presentation is made to the public of Hype, a new management way for your money. It is an e-money virtual account enabling you to promptly have an IBAN available. Said mobile app makes it possible to send and receive money in real time, as well as to best manage it, in order to reach your expenditure (or saving) targets and make payments both online and in real shops. Hype addresses everyone who is a digital native or passionate about the digital world and who wants to use banking services through simple interaction, as it happens with an app.


SellaLab was created in 2013 as an idea accelerator and works together with incubators, businesspeople, investors, public institutions and universities. Moreover, it is a co-working space where startups and professionals from the digital world can opt for working, developing, discussing and cross-examining their ideas. The space is located in Biella, on the Cervo brook bank and within a very special frame. Indeed, it is accommodated in the premises of the historic Maurizio Sella Woolen mill, a woolen district dating back to the 19th century.
During the years SellaLab grows and opens in Lecce, Milan and, in 2018, in Salerno.

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Open Banking and Fintech

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In 2015 Sella Ventures is established, operating in the venture capital business with the purpose to fund startups, funds, incubators and accelerators.

In 2017 was launched, the first Open Banking API Platform in Italy. Banca Sella opens its IT infrastructure to corporate businesses and startups allowing the information to automatically flow between their IT platforms with its own systems.

Among the first banks in Italy to integrate Apple Pay into its payment gateway (Gestpay) and to provide instant payments to its Customers through the new Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) SEPA scheme of the European Payment Council (EPC).

Launch of the Fintech District in Milan: the door to the Italian fintech ecosystem, where startups, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, investors and universities meet to boost the development of the financial industry of the future and the growth of the corporate businesses in the sector.