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The French context of microfinance: A socioeconomic approach of short financial relationships through modern “solidarity-based” financial structures and actors

International Journal of Social Economics, 2009, vol. 36, issue 12, pages 1118-1132

Pascal Glémain, 2009

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Purpose – The first French context of microfinance dates from the 1980’s. As a matter of fact, the “grameen bank” model was imported at this time to France by M. Nowak, through her Association for an individual right to undertake: “Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique” (ADIE). But today the domestic landscape of solidarity-based finance counts plenty of “new” actors, such as: CIGALES, la NEF among others, not to forget intermediated social finance firms: Cooperative banks and public banks with social objectives like the Crédits Municipaux. The purpose of this paper is to show how solidarity-based finance actors try to supply banking products and services to those who are excluded from access to the banking system and to test the hypothesis of an alternative financial system that is “socially responsible” in articulation with public and private sectors.