8 June 2020

Interview with Nicolas Denis, CEO, CA Normandie-Seine

© Didier Gentilhomme

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, the Fund for Inclusive Finance in Rural Areas (FIR) enables the entities of the Crédit Agricole Group to invest in microfinance and social entrepreneurship in emerging countries. The Caisse Régionale Normandie-Seine, which contributes €500,000 to the fund, sees it as a responsible approach in line with the actions it pursues in its region.

– What objectives does your Bank pursue by investing in the Fund for Inclusive Finance in Rural Areas?

Nicolas Denis, General Manager of Agricole Normandie-Seine: The values of social responsibility are at the very heart of our Regional Bank’s corporate project – they are in our DNA.  It is natural for us to join the FIR supported by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation because it promotes these same values. The expected impact is to fight poverty by opening up access to financial services for rural communities in developing countries. This will further the actions already undertaken by the Regional Bank, for example by supporting and financing responsible businesses such as the ecological oil producer Olvea, the manufacturer of sustainable acacia gum Nexira, or the scheme for the prevention of malnutrition in rural areas Nutriceps.

– How do you see these new investments with a social impact?

As a Regional Bank our economic action makes a full contribution to the social life of the regions. We play a guidance and support role in many initiatives with beneficial effects at the local level. Microfinance and social and responsible entrepreneurship are realities whose development we support. Our Bank supports ADIE, a specialist in entrepreneurial microcredit, the Réseau Entreprendre [Enterprise Network] and the Plateformes d’Initiatives Locales [Local Initiative Platforms] for loans on trust. We also take part in Plateformes de financements Participatifs [Participatory Financing Platforms] such as Tubigo, Babyloan and Miimosa. In addition, we are also present alongside the AFDI in Normandy, an organization that forges links between French agricultural professionals and projects in Cambodia and Mali in particular.

– Do these models represent hope?  A future?

What strikes me personally is the extent to which these models abound and are promising. When put in practice, crowdfunding and microcredit turn out to be much more than new ways of financing. They are also excellent vehicles for information and social integration through projects which bring the offer and the public closer together more rapidly. In addition to the FIR, this year we are supporting the Femmes & Challenges Fund, intended for women entrepreneurs endeavouring for gender equality. We see it every day: in direct contact with the real economy and society, these approaches are powerful tools for a positive social transformation.

Source: Integrated Report 2019, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Dowload it here