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Italy: EUR 50 million for UniCredit to support micro-enterprises via new Social Impact Banking Initiative

    Date: 25 April 2018

The European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group) and the European Commission are supporting UniCredit in its engagement in Social Impact Banking (SIB): a EUR 50 million agreement has been signed today in Milan, whereby 2,500 Italian micro firms will benefit from an EIF guarantee under the European Commission’s EaSI (Employment and Social Innovation) programme. This is the first step in cooperation that will be extended to other areas going forward on the basis of common goals.

UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, EIF Chairman Dario Scannapieco and EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert took part in the signing ceremony. The EU Commission was represented by Massimo Gaudina, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Milan.

UniCredit will manage the selection of the operations and the disbursement of the loans through its national network. The maximum amount for each operation will be EUR 25,000. The UniCredit network will support potential clients in identifying possible micro entrepreneurs and provide support for the development of business ideas. Furthermore, UniGens, a volunteer association of UniCredit employees and former employees, will provide mentoring, training and capacity-building services to talented individuals, micro firms and social enterprises.

“To do well, we also have to do good”, is a comment made often by Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit CEO. “At UniCredit, we are proud that all our actions are guided by a strong sense of ethics, based on clear values. One of these is the importance of supporting our community. Through our Social Impact Banking initiative, we do this by looking beyond purely economic returns, to drive investments with a positive impact on society.”

Dario Scannapieco, EIF Chairman and EIB Vice-President said: “The EIB Group, as a European institution, has a strong social mission; this is why we support all Italian economic sectors, including micro firms that are very relevant in the Italian social environment. I am particularly pleased to enlarge the scope of our consolidated cooperation with UniCredit with an operation in the social sector, benefiting from the support of the European Commission. This shows Europe’s care even for very small enterprises”.

EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “This new EaSI guarantee will enable UniCredit to provide finance solutions to microenterprises that often struggle to access finance from traditional lenders. The EaSI transaction with UniCredit will support loans to start-up microbusinesses and micro-borrowers with limited financing opportunities in Italy due to lack of collateral. This is the third EaSI microfinance transaction in Italy, the first with a systemic bank and the largest to date.”

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "Thanks to EU support, UniCredit will launch a new inclusive finance initiative worth 50 million euro to support about 2,500 micro-enterprises in Italy. Many of these micro-entrepreneurs face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. This new guarantee agreement will make loans more easily accessible to them. This shows again that the European Commission, through its Programme for Employment and Social Innovation, is fully committed to boosting employment in Europe and getting more people into jobs, with particular efforts directed towards the most vulnerable people in the labour market."

Notes to editors

About the European Investment Fund

For further information on EU microfinance and social entrepreneurship support please refer to:

EaSI:  EaSI Programme and EU support to social entrepreneurship

The European Commission’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) is designed to support the EU's objectives of obtaining a high level of employment, ensuring adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The EaSI guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 by the European Commission and is managed by the EIF.

It provides support to financial intermediaries that offer micro-loans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups that want to set up or develop their businesses and micro-enterprises, particularly through loans of up to EUR 25,000. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500,000. This microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI guarantee scheme, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises that would not have been able to obtain finance otherwise due to risk considerations.

About UniCredit


Press contact:

Marco Santarelli (in Rome)
tel.: +39 06-4719426 / mobile: +39 331 65 95 594
Website: www.eib.org/press 
Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

Media Relations
Tel.: +39 02 88623569
email: mediarelations@unicredit.eu
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EU Commission:
Sara Soumillion 
tel.: +32 2 296 7094

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