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03/06/2008 - CSR

Microfinance focus, social finance to fight against poverty

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As a socially responsible bank, BNP Paribas includes microfinance within its natural citizen liabilities. At the Group level, the Microfinance entity was created as a genuine banking activity that contributes to the development of microfinance.

“At BNP Paribas we believe microfinance will never be a banking business like any other because it gives a meaning to our work, making it possible to be socially responsible in our core business by helping people who help themselves and who are entrepreneurs.In a world where over one billion people live on less than a dollar per day, it is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against poverty and exclusion. That is why we have decided to become involved in microfinance.” Emmanuel de Lutzel, Responsible for the Group’s Microfinance entity.

A year after it started, the international microfinance project is very advanced in its objectives. Emmanuel de Lutzel discusses the excellent results of this activity as well as the innovations that it represents.

In brief…

Microfinance encompasses micro-credit, micro-insurance, movable savings and the transfer of funds. Microfinance refers to any financial service used by poor people to improve their economic situation. Practically however, the term is usually used to refer to financial institutions and enterprises whose goals include both profitability and reducing the poverty of their clients.
Micro-financial services are needed everywhere, including the developed world. However, in developed economies intense competition within the financial sector, combined with a diverse mix of different types of financial institutions with different missions, ensures that most people have access to some financial services. (Source : http://www.lamicrofinance.org).

Micro-credit is only one aspect of microfinance. It consists of providing small credits to entrepreneurs who have been denied traditional banking solutions.

Microfinance in numbers…

Microfinance represents about 30 billion outstanding dollars accumulated in the entire world. Internationally, it has a 40% annual development rate per year. 10,000 micro-financial institutions serve more than 160 million clients. The average amount per borrower is between 63 euros (South East Asia) and 2,680 euros (Central and Eastern Europe), with repayment rates between 95