Micro-finance projects

Micro-finance projects

Micro-finance is one of the strongly consolidated means for encouraging financial inclusion and for creating employment and business opportunities for persons who would otherwise find access to bank loans difficult as a result of inadequacy or lack of real guarantees. By rethinking how the banks normally grant loans, new means of assessing merit and the credit ratings of borrowers have been introduced, stepping away from the logic of real guarantees.
In cooperation with shareholders’ foundations and local non-profit organisations,
several of the Group’s banks have launched micro-finance initiatives appropriate for such
an advanced economy as that of Italy, where nevertheless there are people who – for social or economic reasons – find access to loans difficult.
In 2009 in Italy loans totalling approximately 1.8 million euro were granted.

The first Microcredito Sociale project agreement signed with Compagnia di San Paolo
dates back to 2003 and involves both Intesa Sanpaolo and Banco di Napoli. This project,
the organisational model for which has sincebeen adopted for other initiatives, is based on a partnership between the Bank, the Bank Foundation and non-profit associations. Four non-profit organisations are involved: Fondazione Don Mario Operti Onlus in Turin, Fondazione Antiusura Santa Maria del Soccorso Onlus in Genoa, Fondazione San Giuseppe Moscati Onlus in Naples and Fondazione Risorsa Donna in Rome.The microcredit
Compagnia di San Paolo has made 2 million euro available, of which 1.6 million for guarantee funds and the remainder to cover operating costs and monitoring.
The project aims to offer personal and socioeconomic growth  pportunities to persons who intend to develop a micro-business or independent employment. Each entity has set up a guarantee fund of 400,000 euro and, in addition to acting as guarantor, each is also responsible for assessing projects, completing the preliminaries and providing support to beneficiaries throughout the project.
The Bank’s responsibility is to complete the preliminary phase and – at particularly advantageous rates – provide the required loan, assuming a part of the credit risk.
The minimum amount of funding available to set up and develop economic activities is 2,000 euro, and 500 euro for projects concerning employment opportunities. The maximum amount of funding is 20,000 euro for individuals and 35,000 euro for companies, social cooperatives and small-scale social cooperatives.
40 loans were granted during the year, most of which were for business activities, for a total of 573,000 euro. The average sum granted is 14,000 euro. From the start of the project until the end of 2009 a total of around 3 million euro  has been granted.

Microcredito sociale

MicrocreditCassa di Risparmio di Venezia has launched two projects since 2006:

  • in cooperation with Fondazione di Venezia – the initiative sponsor – and the Terre in Valigia association, the Terre in Valigia project aims to provide business startup support for non-European women. in 2009 a total of 2 loans were granted for a total of approximately 25,000 euro.
  • a micro-finance initiative known as Microcredito Sociale San Matteo implemented in collaboration with Caritas in the diocese of Venice. The programme has two aims: to promote employment opportunities or business development or to provide support for personal and family needs in terms of housing, health costs and school fees. The amount granted is between 1,000 and 3,000 euro, with a maximum duration of up to 36 months. In 2009 31 loans were granted for a total of 80,000 euro; the guarantee fund set up by Caritas was increased from 30,000 to 80,000 euro, also as a result of the economic crisis which led to stronger demand.


In 2006 Cassa di Risparmio del Veneto launched an initiative in collaboration with Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo and the three Caritas of Padua, Adria-Rovigo and Chioggia. This region was also hit by the economic crisis, in 2009 leading to an increase in the number of loans requested and granted (90 compared to 36 in 2008). The total amount distributed was almost 300,000 euro, 55% of which to non-Italians. As in past years, most of the applications for loans are for personal needs (rent, bills, medical care, etc.).

Work also continued on the project launched jointly by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio
di Padova e Rovigo, La Casa Onlus association and Cassa di Risparmio del Veneto to facilitate first home purchases for persons with housing difficulties.

In 2008 Cassa di Risparmio del Friuli Venezia Giulia formed a partnership with the Caritas of Gorizia and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Gorizia. 31 loans were granted in 2009 for a total of 65,000 euro.
Three new micro-finance projects were launched in 2009 by:

  • Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia e Pescia in collaboration with Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio Pistoia e Pescia, the Fondazione Unraggiodiluce Onlus association and the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia of Pistoia. The loans target individuals, social cooperatives and women’s small enterprises.
    The project involves assumption of 50% of the total risk, divided among the three project members. As at the end of the year, 27 loans had been granted for a total of 119,000 euro.
  • Banca CR Firenze in collaboration with the Fondazione Toscana for usury prevention.
    Individuals and small enterprises have access to these loans. The project involves
    assumption of 50% of the risk by the foundation, backed by a special guarantee
    fund. As at the end of the year, 6 loans had been granted for a total of 36,000 euro.
  • Cassa di Risparmio di La Spezia in collaboration with La Spezia Provincial Government. This initiative, targeting individuals and small enterprises, involves the assumption of 100% of the risk by the Provincial Government on the entire
    sum granted, backed by a special guarantee fund. Since the launch of the project, two loans have been granted for a total of 5,000 euro.

The Group participates in Prestito della Speranza, an innovative nationwide micro-finance programme launched in 2009 by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) in support of large families or households hit by sickness or disability that have lost all sources of income due to temporary or permanent job loss, but are willing to formulate an employment re-introduction plan or start their own business.
With the ABI acting as coordinator, the participating banks – representing around 70% of branches in Italy – grant loans for 6,000 euro (renewable once) at a subsidised rate. These loans are backed by a 30 million euro guarantee fund set up by the CEI to cover up to 50% of losses on the loans in question. The initial assessment of applications from households is performed through a network of 189 Diocese Offices (most of which run by Caritas).
The Group has offered greater availability of credit by using a higher multiplier than that required by the CEI project. In particular, the Group has decided to set aside to the special guarantee fund only one-tenth of the amount granted (compared to one-sixth applied by the other banks involved). In addition, Banca Prossima acts as Guarantee Fund manager for the initiative.

Lastly, Banca Intesa Beograd distributes micro financing in cooperation with the independent provincial government of Vojvodina, which has made a guarantee fund available.
This programme offers business start-up loans to women who are unemployed or who have started up a business in the last three years.
Since the launch of the programme, 134 loans have been granted for a total of over 1,650,000 euro. Each loan amounts to around 20,000 euro. 30 loans were granted in 2009 for a total of more than 565,000 euro.