Interview with Claudia Belli Jeanteur, Head of Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance at...
BNP Paribas, financial and impact-investing partner for MFIs
MFIs (Microfinance institutions), which primarily fund microcredit through loans, need partners for their long-term development. BNP Paribas provides diversified tailor-made banking support in local currencies in order to avoid forex risk.
Group financial support for microfinance
BNP Paribas grants loans of €0.5 - 10m to MFIs and mobilises its entire range of available solutions in response to their needs :
Direct financing: 81% of the portfolio
- Almost all direct funding takes the form of loans totalling €187.5 million on 31/12/2016. Almost half of these credit lines are granted in the 4 domestic markets, as well as loans granted to MFIs in 10 emerging economies, with the Bank also intervening through the RIF II fund, which invests in 26 MFIs also situated in countries in which BNP Paribas is not located.
- The Group has also invested proprietary capital in certain MFIs in Europe, including PerMicro in Italy, microStart in Belgium and MicroLux in Luxembourg, and in Africa through Microcred Côte d’Ivoire and Taysir.
- Subsidies are also granted to MFIs, chiefly l’Adie in France.
Indirect financing: 19% of the portfolio
The Bank offers its employees and clients impact-investing savings products, which are partially invested in MFIs.
Impact-investing savings steered towards MFIs
Through the impact-investing funds managed by BNP Paribas Asset Management, individuals including company employees, BNP Paribas Group staff and Bank clients, can contribute towards financing and developing microfinance in France and internationally.
- In France, BNP Paribas Asset management impact-investing funds directly support the actions undertaken by two major microfinance players, l’Adie and Initiative France. These funds contributed towards the financing of over 20,031 micro-entrepreneurs in 2016. On average, 63% of the micro-enterprises supported by these MFIs are still operational 3 years after their creation.
- Internationally, BNP Paribas Asset Management impact-investing funds have participated in the surge of microfinancing, through funding European networks which are active in emerging markets, including OXUS (via ACTED), SIDI and the ResponsAbility Global Microfinance fund.
At the end of 2016, impact-investing funds represented AUM of €1.4 billion. Further to the €18m invested in microfinance, €59m was invested in 18 impact-investing partners with a strong social and/or environmental impact in France.
Group volunteer expertise benefitting microfinance
The Group provides expertise for technical assistance missions on a voluntary basis. BNP Paribas also provides MFIs with contacts with specific training to help with their development.
Technical assistance provided by volunteers and BNP Paribas employees
Since 2007, BNP Paribas employees and retired staff members have been making their skills available to help microfinance players on a voluntary basis. Thanks to the relationship-building work undertaken by the Group, almost 20 MFI support assignments and 180 micro-entrepreneur guidance assignments were undertaken across 12 countries in 2016.
- In Europe and in the Maghreb region, voluntary workers have supported micro-entrepreneurs by providing technical expertise. In 2015, support was provided to l’Adie in France, microStart in Belgium, PerMicro in Italy and Taysir in Tunisia.
- In other parts of the world (Philippines, Haiti, etc.) technical support assignments were undertaken to help MFI network NGOs.
Since 2017, under the Group’s Leaders for Tomorrow talent strategy programme, BNP Paribas proposes its Leadership Talents to acquire social auditing skills and carry out a paired on-site assignment (during work time). The objective of the assignment is to assess the performance and social impact of MFIs in Europe, Africa and Asia and contribute towards developing individual and group leadership skills.
Trained proactive professionals helping MFIs
Experts from the Group CSR department work in close collaboration with local BNP Paribas teams to provide ongoing support for MFIs. They draw on support from other departments within the Bank, such as Risk Management. A specific credit policy, including a social performance assessment has also been established in close collaboration with this team.
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