July 1, 2002
Case study of the Finsol workshop
Marco Santori


For over 10 years ETIMOS has been promoting “ethical” finance giving credit to the fair trade sector and the social economy in Italy and all around the world. Today the Consortium ETIMOS is a union of over 200 non-profit member organizations such as fair trade shops, NGOs, social cooperatives, associations, foundations and religious groups. These organizations gather savings and capital by their members and offer capitalization services with the goal to provide the South of the World with microfinance services. The resources invested by five thousand savers have provided over 25 million Euros in credit for fair trade and for social economy, with a rate of unrecovered debts of less than 1%. ETIMOS participates in the International Microcredit Movement and in its program which aims to extend credit to 100 million families by the year 2005. It has been recognized as Practitioner, the only one officially recognized as the expert on the microcredit field in Italy and the one of the most representative organizations at the European level. ETIMOS works in a network with its own associates and with Banca Popolare Etica. It has been one of the main promoters of this first and only alternative ethical finance bank in Italy.


Microcredit is focused on person: Its aim is a better life condition for women, men, children; Microcredit defends and promotes the human rights: Every person, man or woman, has the right to realize oneself and to give the same opportunity to one’s children; Microcredit promotes the Local Sustainable Development: It considers and sets off the potentialities of the human, environmental and cultural resources in the countries of the South of the World; Microcredit strengthens the participation: Loans and services reach each person and associated groups with a mutual solidarity spirit so that every choice is for the community’s good and creates a mutual responsibility among the individuals.


ETIMOS deals with the start-up and enhancement of MicroFinance Institutions (MFIs) and associated microenterprises. In particular ETIMOS activities consist in financing MFIs, popular and village banks and in offering financial services and technical assistance to small associated manufacturers and micorenterprises in LatinAmerica, in Africa and in Europe (Balkans). The final goal of the ETIMOS activities is to create the conditions to canalize funds (capital and savings) for the MFIs that offer financial services (supplying micro-loans and managing savings) and supply technical assistance for their reinforcement. Moreover ETIMOS cooperates and supplies technical assistance and training courses for the NGOs in the microfinance, microcredit and Income Generation Productivity (IGP) projects field.


§ established, well-capitalised MFIs, with access to the formal financial system (type A); § MFIs in the process of being established, not yet able to access the formal financial system (type B); § MFIs recently set-up, with little or no support from commercial financial sources, but with good development potential (greenfield); § MFIs in the process of being set-up (participation and technical assistance, in conjunction with the promoter organisations); § Italian or local microeterprises services Organisations in the South of the World, Fair Trade and Sustainable Tourism.


Loans: Loans are on various contractual and technical forms (mortgage loan, credit lines, stand by-letters of credit, other). The loans issued by Etimos are
-  short term loans (up to a maximum duration of 18 months)
-  medium term loans (18 to 36 months)
-  long-term loans (36 to 60 months) The average value of the loan amount is: 150.000 USD

Purchase of equity capital: It consists in the subscription of producer organisations or microenterprise service organisations’ share capital. Issuance of guarantees: Composed by the credit letters in favour of producer organisations or microenterprise service organisations, which, as a result, are able to obtain easier access to financial services offered by local commercial banks.


Types of guarantees recognised by ETIMOS for the issuance of its investment products:
-  Stand-by letter of credit issued on guarantee funds specialised in the support of microfinance (SOS FAIM, ADA, RAFAD, International NGOs)
-  Signatory guarantees of organisations, such as international NGOs, Foundations, Local entities, religious entities, international MFI networks
-  Guarantees issued by international insurers or banks
-  Mortgages, with administrative costs borne by the client
-  Signatory guarantees of the directors of the borrower institution (exceptional cases).


At the moment, ETIMOS is investing in its financial projects, an amount equal to 2.457.000 USD: 1.580.000 USD are used to support Organizations in Italy, belonging to the social economy; 877.000 USD are supplied in favour of institutions of the south of the world. In particular, our financial services are reaching Micro Finance Institutions and cooperatives of local producers in Latin America and Africa.

13. FINANCIAL SOURCES: ETIMOS doesn’t receive any donation or sponsor. ETIMOS is a financial Consortium with over 200 member organizations – fair trade shops, NGOs, social cooperatives, associations, foundations, religious groups – who participate in the microfinance project in the South of the World and in the suburbs of the industrialized world cities (as Balkans) by subscribing equity capital and depositing savings so that ETIMOS capital is composed by these items. ETIMOS has two lines of credit open at two banks (Banca Popolare Etica and Banca Popolare di Milano). Moreover Banca Etica is collecting savings dedicated to Etimos’ project through particular certificates of deposit (Etimos Microcredit Fund).

Complete article in word on the WSSE website.