• Sustainable finance

How is microfinance performing socially and environmentally around the world?

Solidarity finance, which emerged in the 1980s, continues to contribute to the financial inclusion of many people throughout the world, and Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are a driving force behind this. Having returned, since 2021, to performance levels close to those recorded before the health crisis, the sector has continued to grow, rising to 156.1 million borrowers in 2022*. Since the 1990s, BNP Paribas has been committed to facilitating financial inclusion, in particular by supporting 21 microfinance institutions. Learn more about their work in the second Microfinance Social Performance Report, expanded for this new edition with an environmental component.

A story, first and foremost, about people 

Her name is Lai Thi Hein and she lives in Vietnam. Her name is Jani, a Brazilian based in Lages. Nabil, he is from Syria originally, and now calls Belgium home. What do they have in common? They have all gotten a professional project off the ground thanks to the help of an MFI, three letters that represent a turning point in their lives. Microfinance institutions are a valuable door opener for those with an idea but no access to conventional loans. All three offer their views in the second report published by BNP Paribas on the social performance of microfinance institutions supported by the bank worldwide in 2022.

Interview of Lai Thi Hein, micro-entrepreneur in Vietnam
Direction Vietnam to meet Lai Thi Hein! At the head of a seed-growing company, the entrepreneur is able to cope with seasonality thanks to the financial stability provided by micro-loans from TYM

A lasting commitment

Since starting out in Guinea in 1989, BNP Paribas has been interested in financial solutions and instruments that can support populations excluded from the banking system. 33 years later, in 2022, the bank allocated €332.5 million (in loans and investments) to support 21 MFIs in 13 countries. Through these institutions, 280,000 beneficiaries, 95% of them women, were able to borrow funds to start their businesses. The MFI partners created and supported, in total  1.3 million jobs.

Key figures

333 M€

Amount dedicated to MFIs in 2022


microfinance beneficiaries, of which, 95% women 

+1,3 M

jobs created

Although there is still a long way to go to re-integrate the approximately 1.4 billion adults* still excluded from banking services in 2021 around the world, Antoine Sire, Head of Company Engagement at BNP Paribas, wants to pay tribute to the work already done by all microfinance players: “Thanks to the financial inclusion indicator created in 2021, which is one of our 10 indicators on the CSR dash board, we were able to measure our progress: throughout 2022 we supported the inclusion of 3.2 million people (Nickel customers and microfinance beneficiaries). We will therefore continue to measure our progress, always with the same objective: enabling more people to access financial services.” 

The publication of this report follows the logic of the Group’s 2022-2025 strategic plan, which defines financial inclusion as a priority.

our objective: enabling more people to access financial services

Reaching more and more people

This 2022 report also covers the employees of the BNP Paribas Group, who volunteered 15,600 hours of their time to help the partner MFIs in their support of the beneficiaries: training them to prepare financial statements, providing banking and financial education, helping to set up micro-enterprises… Much more information can be found in the second edition of this report on these solidarity initiatives that put meaning behind the word finance. “Even today, too many people in the world do not benefit from basic financial services. This access is essential for developing entrepreneurial initiativesproviding economic security and promoting financial autonomy, especially for women,” argues Claudia Belli, Head of Inclusive Finance and Relations with Civil Society. “That is why we support microfinance institutions that finance and support those with the most limited resources towards financial inclusion."

Read the report

Towards a sustainable, inclusive finance

The 2022 edition of the report deals not only with social performance but also with environmental performance, where microfinance has a role to play in combining several objectives linked to the environmental and social challenges of our economies.

BNP Paribas is now assessing the environmental impact of partner microfinance institutions, which have three objectives: to reduce the environmental footprint of their suppliers and customers; to increase the resilience of their beneficiaries in the face of climate change; and to promote the adoption of green practices and technologies. They thus work towards sustainable financial inclusion.

our environmental and social commitments

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