Certain non-profit associations and foundations recognised as registered charities, hereafter referred to as "microcredit organisations", may be authorised to grant certain loans in the context of their activities and for social reasons, pursuant to 5 of Article L. 511-6 of the Monetary and Financial Code,within the framework of the specific legal regime detailed in Articles R. 518-57 to R. 518-62 of the same code.
The following main requirements must be satisfied:
- Track record of at least 18 months in supporting projects financed by loans granted by the organisation from its own resources or through bank loans;
- Minimum number of applications processed per year (set at 50);
- Senior managers meet fitness, propriety and experience criteria required for their position;
- Appropriate guarantee agreement signed covering loans entered into by the association or foundation;
- Level of capital and reserve fund;
- Internal control system established and covering rules on selecting and supervising risks, separation of decision-making and oversight functions, signature by a person who has been duly authorised to grant loans, appointment of an internal control manager and indicators to monitor the results of the business.
Loans granted shall have the following characteristics:
- Granted in return for consideration for a maximum period of five years and covered by a guarantee provided by a guarantee fund, a credit institution or a finance company;
- Allocated to companies only in the first five years following their establishment or takeover (max. EUR 10,000);
- Companies shall have no more than three employees;
- Loans intended to finance social inclusion projects are granted to natural persons facing financing difficulties and benefiting from social support but whose repayment capacities are deemed insufficient (max. EUR 3,000).
Application to approve a microcredit organisation should be made to the ACPR, which will issue acknowledgement of receipt once it has received all the documents needed to review the application: the application must specify the purpose of the loans, indicating whether they are intended to create or grow companies or to support social inclusion projects involving natural persons.
The ACPR will come to a decision within four months of issuing the acknowledgement of receipt.