French CASE STUDY – Affordable Personal Inclusive Credit

01 September 2013

Position paper

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Enabling low-income and financially-excluded consumers access affordable credit for “life projects”

This initiative involves the Secours Catholique (social entreprise), the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (public authority) which manages the “Fonds de cohésion sociale” and the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne (profit-making company) which works in close relationship with the organisations Parcours Confiance and Finances & Pédagogie.

Since 2003, the Secours Catholique decided to fight financial and banking exclusion. It created personal microcredit with some banking partners and funded a guarantee fund. This initiative has then been supported in 2005 by the Caisse des Dépots which manages the “Social Cohesion Funds” dedicated to provide partial guarantee of microcredit for businesses and personal life projects. To activate this guarantee, banks must organise an effective social follow-up in partnership with social structures.

The objective of the triad is to create or re-create relations between banks and the targeted publics which have been excluded. The microcredits must be related to a personal project, an inclusive step, to access or maintain a dwelling or a job. The amount of these loans varies from 300 to 3000€ for a maximum period of 36 months. They are designed to finance various needs relating to training, mobility, employability, family cohesion, health, minor renovations, etc.. These needs are grouped under the name “life projects”. Therefore, in principle, these credits cannot be used to pay mortgage or debt consolidations.

The beneficiaries’ follow-up is considered as a key element of the partnership: a) during the pre-contractual period: the study of the personal project, the budget, the financial capability b) during the reimbursement period, if the beneficiary faces a difficulty.

  • Concretely, the way the partnership works is the following. The Secours Catholique:Assess the demand, the reason why the credit is asked for,Participates in the Credit Committee,Assumes the beneficiary’s follow-up andGuarantees 50% of the credit risk default.
  • The Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations:Manages the “Fonds de cohésion sociale” guarantee fund andCoordinate the national action (reporting, website France Microcrédit, regular meetings on organisational and developing aspects, bank-association relationships).
  • Finally, the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne in collaboration with Parcours Confiance and Finances & Pédagogie:Analyses and participates to credit granting decisions,Manages the money delivery and credit back-office,Follows-up the repayment andProposes financial education workshops for beneficiaries.


Finance Watch French CASE STUDY – Affordable Personal Inclusive CreditCAPIC’ actions are supported by the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (2007-2013) – PROGRESS. The information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Commission.

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