• Sustainable finance

Microfinance: The first social performance report highlights BNP Paribas' commitments

With the release of its first Microfinance Social Performance Report, BNP Paribas takes stock of the actions carried out by the Group in 2021 in the field of microfinance, while also highlighting more than 30 years of commitment to microfinance institutions (MFIs) across four continents.

A first worldwide assessment of microfinance 

Using the MESIS (Social Impact Measurement and Monitoring) * methodology, co-created by BNP Paribas, the Group has created an initial assessment of its microfinance activity worldwide this year. “This report allows us to assess and docment our microfinance activity," explains Claudia Belli, Head of Advocacy and Financial Inclusion, BNP Paribas. “It is also a powerful management tool for measuring and analysing the social performance of partner microfinance institutions around the world, and the progress made over time. As such, it will help guide us and make choices to further support the sector for years to come.”

Read the report

Strong involvement of partners, beneficiaries and employees in favour of financial inclusion

This 16-page report puts beneficiaries and partner MFIs at the forefront, allowing them to discuss local initiatives and projects that could not have emerged  without microfinance. Contributions from Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2006, is also a key element: It stresses the crucial role of microfinance in the economic recovery of extremely poor areas, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

"Bankers' responsibility is to finance entrepreneurs who will in turn create jobs and thereby help stabilise the economy." 
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

The report also serves as a reminder of the powerful commitment made by those working within BNP Paribas. In total, more than 15,000 hours were donated pro bono by Group employees to MFI partners. “BNP Paribas' objective is not to maximise its profitability on microfinance operations but to maximise its social performance,” explains Alain Lévy, Head of inclusive finance Asia & Americas at BNP Paribas. “We are committed to supporting the communities in the countries we work in.”

Key figures on financial exclusion 

1.7 bn

adults excluded from banking services worldwide

only 65%

of women have a bank account

Fighting financial exclusion for more than 30 years through microfinance

32 years after BNP Paribas’ first microfinance partnership in Guinea, nearly 1.2 billion euros in cumulative loans were granted to 2.9 million beneficiaries worldwide in France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Senegal and Vietnam. In total, BNP Paribas is providing support in 14 countries, 13 of which participated in the study for the report.

Social and economic performance of BNP Paribas 


In total loans granted to MFIs since 1989.


direct beneficiaries, 84% of whom are women, since 1989


allocated by BNP Paribas in 2021 to MFIs through lending and investment

Today, nearly two billion people are excluded from banking services around the world. Microfinance gives them access to traditional financial services (credit, savings, insurance, money transfer, etc.). It is widely used in emerging countries, and is growing all over the world, especially in countries with higher incomes. As the report points out, in 2021, BNP Paribas' 18 partner MFIs helped support 8,101,715 beneficiaries, 224,000 of whom were supported by the Group, for an average amount of €6,595. As a result, a total of 1,337,826 jobs were created.  

Knowing that it has a responsibility to continue to support this performance, the Group intends to become even more involved: “I am proud that our microfinance initiatives have benefited 2.9 million people over the past 30 years... and I hope that we will exceed 4 million within 5 years,” explains Alain Lévy. In that same spirit, the Group has defined financial inclusion as one of the priorities of its 2025 strategic plan and has included inclusion indicators in its CSR dashboard.

Performance of partner MFIs


active beneficiaries, including nearly 224,000 supported by BNP Paribas 


of beneficiaries are women


jobs created by beneficiaries

*The MESIS (Social Impact Measurement and Monitoring) methodology
This methodology,  which BNP Paribas helped to develop, enables us to measure the social performance of microfinance around the world using six indicators, including the number of beneficiaries, the amount of the average loan, and the number of hours of support and training. This methodology has two objectives: advance the empirical measurement of social impact and to support social enterprises, MFIs and investors.

Photo credit: Ron Hansen

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