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IFC Invests in Banco Cooperativo Sicredi to Boost Help for Rural Communities, Small Businesses

In Washington, D.C.:
John McNally
Phone: (202) 458-0723

Adriana Gomez
Phone: (202) 458-5204

Washington, D.C., December 13, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide a loan worth $50 million to Banco Cooperativo Sicredi, which is part of a Brazil’s Sicredi network of 117 credit cooperatives.

The investment, IFC’s first in a cooperative bank in Brazil, will allow the bank to increase financing to low-income individuals and small and medium enterprises in under-served rural regions of Brazil. It is expected to lead to 200,000 loans for  small farmers by 2015, helping increase agricultural production.  

The Sicredi system dates back to 1902, when Brazil’s first credit cooperative was founded. The network has grown to have about 1.9 million members, mostly small farmers and others in small cities in 10 Brazilian states.

Speaking at the signing of the investment on December 7, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Paolo Martelli said: “This deal with Banco Cooperativo Sicredi is particularly significant because cooperatively owned financial intermediaries can play an indispensable role in making financial products and services available to otherwise underserved individuals and enterprises. As well as helping rural farmers, we expect it to generate much needed jobs through microloans and loans to small businesses.”

Ademar Schardong, chief executive of Sicredi, said: “We welcome IFC’s involvement, which affirms the importance of credit cooperatives in both social and economic development. This investment will allow us to increase lending to members in some of Brazil’s more remote areas, helping to boost income and living standards.”

Increasing the provision of financial services is a key priority for IFC—it helps alleviate poverty and reduce income inequality. It is estimated that agribusiness accounts for 35 percent of all employment in Brazil and 25 percent of the country’s GDP. Yet access to finance for many farmers is still limited. The new investment will help Banco Cooperativo Sicredi, with its extensive network and large membership base, to remove this bottleneck and improve the competitiveness and productivity of the sector.  

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit

About Banco Cooperativo Sicredi
Banco Cooperativo Sicredi is part of the Sicredi system and distributes banking products to its 117 credit unions and its members. It was the first Cooperative Bank founded in Brazil. Banco Cooperativo Sicredi also manages an Insurance Broker, Credit Card Issuer and Acquirer and a Consortium Administrator.

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