The history of Banco da Família registers one of the most important experiences in inclusive business in Latin America. Started in 1998 as *Banco da Mulher [Bank of Women], on an initiative of the Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs of the Commercial and Industrial Association of Lages (SC), with the mission of being a credit alternative to small businesses, both formal and informal, in a simplified and efficient way - seeking to expand and improve small businesses so that they contribute to regional development.
Thus, it filled a gap that existed at the time in the offer of credit to boost entrepreneurship in the region of Lages (SC), where 98% of the businesses were micro or small companies. In 2003, facing new requirements and demands, in order to increase its scope, the institution changed and expanded, becoming Banco da Família.
Banco da Família is a microfinancing institution, formed by an association registered as OSCIP (Civil Society and Public Interest Organization), whose operation is authorized and regulated by the Ministry of Justice through Act No. 9790.
With an effective model that allowed its growth to happen in a sustainable manner, Banco da Família has been expanding year after year to become the largest microcredit operation in the South. In less than 20 years, it granted around R$ 800 million in credit, boosting business from over 300,000 credit operations in 100 municipalities of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
The small businesses generated through the activities of Banco da Família in the places where its agencies and service stations are located, grow and improve the quality of life of the entrepreneurial families and the local community. That is where the great benefit is: when an entrepreneur grows, they help the entire community thrive. Other entrepreneurs start to emerge, which can generate jobs, thus improving the lives of everyone around them, since about 70% of the income generated in these enterprises circulates within the community. In addition, a large proportion of microcredit clients invest a portion of the earnings in their children’s education. Therefore, the whole country benefits from the microcredit.
It is not by chance that in recent years Brazil has become an international reference in microcredit. The respected Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey, for example, ranks us as the third nation in the world with the highest number of entrepreneurs. In addition, the Grant Thornton International Business Report, which separates the results of its survey by gender, indicates that Brazilian women are the most enterprising of the planet.
We continue to comply with the mission of Banco da Família, which is to “promote the improvement of quality of life, acting in microfinance as an agent of social transformation”.