Community Banks – Microcredit & Social Currencies The case of Brazil
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The first community bank in Brazil was Banco Palmas, which was inaugurated in January 1998 in a neighbourhood called Conjunto Palmeiras, which is located on the outskirts of the city of Fortaleza. The idea came from the Associaçao dos Moradores do Conjunto Palmeiras (Association of Residents of Conjunto Palmeiras) which has around 30,000 residents. They developed an economic system which has an alternative micro-credit line (for producers and
consumers), incentive tools for local consumption (credit card and social currency) and new ways of commercialization (fairs, solidarity shops/stores) promoting local job creation and income generation.
Banco Palmas has three main characteristics : management responsibilities are borne by the community ; an integrated system of local development which promotes credit, production, commercialization and training ; and the local currency (Palmas currency), which complements the official currency (Real) and is accepted and recognized by local producers, merchants and
consumers, creating an alternative and solidarity market between the families.
Web site www.community-wealth.org