A new agreement between Banca Etica and EMN was announced during the EMN Annual Conference 2020 (13-15 October), thanks to which Banca Etica will be able to offer financial support to EMN Members practicing microfinance in Europe. The objective of the agreement is to facilitate inclusion projects financed through microfinance.
Banca Etica finances microfinance institutions giving priority to those that have already applied to access the guarantees and technical support offered by the European Union through the EaSI Technical Assistance programme (EaSI TA). The EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) aims to promote employment and social inclusion in Europe by increasing access and availability of microfinance for micro-enterprises as well as for vulnerable people who want to start or develop their own micro-enterprise. In addition, the programme aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of microfinance institutions. EaSI TA is the non-financial component of the programme designed to support public and private financial intermediaries in the microfinance sector in Europe to improve their operations and expand their reach to enable more people to access finance in Europe. EaSI TA includes services such as assessments of needs and areas for improvement of microfinance institutions, tailor-made training courses on various topics aimed at improving the quality of internal processes of microfinance institutions, investment preparation courses, financial or social assessments, and events to facilitate the sharing and dissemination of best practices.
"Microcredit and microfinance are among the cornerstones of our Ethical Finance project, because they are effective tools for business and social development and the fight against poverty. We develop these activities by integrating them with training and accompanying activities, always in collaboration with professional partners who share our values and with local social networks - public administrations or third sector subjects - that guarantee the connection between the bank, the territory and the beneficiaries of the credit. Banca Etica is a partner of the European Microfinance Network, which promotes microfinance, micro-entrepreneurship and self-employment by spreading good practices and promoting a favorable regulatory framework in the European Union and Member States. The commitment of Banca Etica to support microfinance institutions operating worldwide is a constant feature since its foundation", says Gabriele Giuglietti, head of Banca Etica's International Development Office. In 2019, the commitment in equity and financing exceeds 15 million euros, with specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
Banca Etica is the first and still the only Italian bank entirely dedicated to ethical finance, operating for over 20 years throughout Italy through a network of branches, itinerant bankers and thanks to home and mobile banking services. Banca Etica collects the savings of organisations and citizens and uses it entirely to finance projects aimed at collective welfare. Today, Banca Etica has 44 thousand members and 75 million share capital; a savings collection of €1.7 billion and financing for over €1 billion in favour of initiatives of organisations, families and businesses in the fields of social cooperation and innovation, international cooperation, culture and quality of life, environmental protection, responsible tourism, organic farming, right to housing, legality. The Banca Etica Group includes Etica sgr, an asset management company that exclusively offers ethical mutual funds, and Fondazione Finanza Etica that promotes initiatives to study and raise awareness on critical education in finance.