This initiative introduces the unemployed and those on income support to microcredit, with the aim of reaching out to as many start-up businesses as possible, particularly in underprivileged neighbourhoods. Fifty forums are being organised all over France in public places as well as in local start-up advice centres, through social welfare networks and organisations assisting the unemployed back into work.
For more than 15 years, BNP Paribas has been involved in promoting microcredit which it considers to be an effective weapon for combating unemployment and exclusion in France. As ADIE's traditional partner, the bank has continually reaffirmed and stepped up its support for the association through sponsorship and banking.
As sponsor of the ADIE since 1996, the BNP Paribas Foundation boosted its support for the association in 2006 with the launch of the “Projet Banlieues” (Underprivileged neighbourhoods Project). This funding, totalling more than €2 million over 3 years will finance 7 new microcredit branches in urban development areas. Furthermore, Cetelem bank staff have been giving the ADIE the benefit of their experience and expertise since 2004.
BNP Paribas is the first commercial bank to have entered into a national partnership with the ADIE across its entire network (2,200 branches en France). At the end of 2004, the group signed a partnership agreement with the association to give business start-ups special support at the Group's branches.
The credit line set up in 1993 has progressively increased over the years and was raised to €6.6 million a year in 2008. BNP Paribas contributes 10% of the cost of supporting each ADIE-assisted start-up, and up to 30% of the risk coverage.
The scheme has financed nearly 900 projects already this year, while more than 5,000 SMEs have been assisted since the beginning.
The Bank is now proposing that retired staff become voluntary advisors to ADIE projects.
For more information: www.semaine-microcredit.org
BNP Paribas “Projet Banlieue”: 2 years of concrete action already
In 2006, BNP Paribas launched a large-scale project: the “Projet Banlieues”, with the support of its Foundation and the involvement of its Retail Bank in France. This scheme, devoted to creating jobs and social contact in underprivileged neighbourhoods and to providing educational support for children in difficulty, has a budget of €3 million over 3 years. It has 3 key strands:
- granting microcredit to support economic development and job creation, in partnership with the ADIE. This support has already led to the opening of 6 new branches in underprivileged neighbourhoods and the creation of nearly 400 start-ups representing 480 jobs.
- Educational support in urban development areas in association with the AFEV (Association de la Fondation Etudiante pour la Ville), which has already awarded grants to nearly 1,900 pupils in difficulty.
- Support for local projects of public benefit instigated by neighbourhood associations:
To date, the BNP Paribas Foundation has assisted 83 associations, providing total funding of nearly €350,000. These grant-aided initiatives are mainly in the areas of education, helping the unemployed back into work, cultural development, social integration through sport, and training.
Other microcredit schemes operated by BNP Paribas
For the last 6 years, through its microfinance activity at group level, BNP Paribas has been working with microfinance institutions that support the creation of micro-businesses in developing countries. Currently, the total number of international microfinance loans amount nearly €80M in 12 countries (Morocco, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Madagascar, India, Philippines, Argentina, Mexico, Senegal, Tunisia and Brazil). There are 22 partners involved and more than 400,000 borrowers. The programme has an economic and social impact on some 2 million people.
Additionally, BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed a framework cooperation agreement to develop joint projects in the countries where the AFD operates and the Group is established, including support for the microfinance sector.
As regards personal microcredit, at the end of 2006, Cetelem, the BNP Paribas group's personal finance bank, and the Caisse des Dépôts signed an agreement making it possible to grant loans to members of society normally excluded from access to bank credit.
Cetelem and the ADIE have signed a partnership agreement with the aim of transferring experience and know-how, in particular in the field of training and decision-making support (tools and methods).
About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is one of the European leaders in banking and financial services and is one of the 4 strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poors. It has 163,000 employees with almost 127,000 of them in Europe. The group holds key positions in three major fields of activity: Finance and Investment Banking, Asset Management & Services and Retail Banking. It is present throughout Europe across all its business sectors, France and Italy are its two domestic markets for retail banking. BNP Paribas also has a significant and growing presence in the United States and strong positions in Asia and the emerging countries.