Rabobank obtains 30% stake in Sicredi for SMEs Lending
Microfinance Focus, June 8, 2010: The Dutch financial service provider, Rabobank Group, has obtained a 30% strategic stake in Banco Cooperativo Sicredi S.A., the central organisation of the 128 Sicredi credit cooperatives in Brazil. The deal follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two companies in 2009. Through this partnership, Rabobank aims to foster the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in rural and urban areas of Brazil. Rabobank Group and Sicredi are both cooperative based and have widely spread branche network in the inland parts of Brazil. Rabobank through Rabo Development will provide technical assistance to and share its expertise with Sicredi to expand their product portfolio in segments where Rabobank already has the necessary experience. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to contribute to the development and strength of Sicredi and its members. Rabobank will be represented in Sicredi's Board of Directors as well as in the management of the bank. The investment is subject to approval of the Brazilian Central Bank. "This is a long term strategic partnership between two institutions that have a lot in common.", commented Ademar Shardong, Sicredi's CEO. "We believe this will further assist us in an ongoing improvement of our products for and services to our 1.6 million members." Sicredi is one of the major credit cooperatives in Latin America. It comprises 128 credit cooperatives that operate a retail network in rural areas in Ten Brazilian States. With more than 1,000 customer service centers and over 1,6 million members, Sicredi is the seventh financial institution in Brazil in terms of customer servicing points. Total assets of the Sicredi system at the end of 2009 amounted to R$ 16.6 billion. Berry Marttin, member of the Executive Board of Rabobank Nederland and responsible for Rabo Development stated: "The objective of this participation is not only a financial return, but also to facilitate the development of the cooperative credit structure, improve access to finance and enable successful business operations in the Brazilian market. For Rabobank Group it is yet another step in strengthening its footprint in an important agricultural market."

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