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.
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 www.ifc.org.
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.