International models in finance and development at fiess2011

Join 1200 people from over 70 countries in Montreal , October 17th -20th who are activating the social and solidarity economy across Canada and globally. Fiess2011, the International Forum on the Social and Solidarity Economy, brings together those who collaborate with different levels of government to effect public policy for the benefit of the social economy.

International conferences such as fiess2011 are our opportunity to examine emerging and established models that feed our curiosity and ignite ideas for adaptation in Canada. 

In Canada, community finance has a long and successful history with key leadership from the credit union sector. However, most community finance organizations have a regional scope with limited national reach. In addition, the capital markets are not yet engaged in the development of social finance products and services. We require standard ratings, benchmarking and common terminology that will facilitate financial institutions’ understanding and motivation to develop social finance products.

A pan-Canadian social finance infrastructure is still uncoordinated. As the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance outlined, Canada requires regulatory and tax reform to enable the flow of private capital into a strong pipeline of investment opportunities. The Task Force provided seven recommendations to build the necessary infrastructure, allowing multiple points of entry for individual and institutional investors to invest for positive social and environmental impact.

This year at fiess2011, participants will learn from international financial institutions who serve microfinance and community investment interests.

Below is a taste of what fiess2011 has to offer from October 17 to 20.

Impact of Bolivia’s New Financial Policy on Microfinance Institutions
Fundación Fondo de Crédito Solidario (FONCRESOL) (Bolivia)
Gustavo Diez de Medina V. General Manager, FONCRESOL  

Under Bolivia’s new political constitution, the State is the driver of economic development, which means that a new financial policy impacts the entire structure of the financial system. A process to regulate microfinance institutions has therefore begun. That process and its impact on the current status of solidarity finance institutions in the country, in particular the Fundación Fondo de Crédito Solidario (FONCRESOL) will be discussed.

Self-Management of Community Banks for the Democratization of Financial Resources in Argentina
Nuestras Huellas (Argentina)
Nicolas Meyer, Social Psychologist

Nuestras Huellas is a community bank in Buenos Aires. The organization provides loans as well as training, and helps its member entrepreneurs with their marketing. Community banks generate their own savings. Through them, the community also gains access to credit for health care, housing, education, etc. How is a community bank created and how does it grow in a challenging financial climate? Which public policies can help or hinder the consolidation and expansion of community banks?

How Financial Cooperatives in the United States have Coped with the Financial Crisis
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Etats-Unis)
Clifford Rosenthal, President/CEO, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions  

Community development credit unions (CDCUs) are financial cooperatives of the United States that specialize in serving low-income people, in particular minorities and immigrants in urban, rural, and reservation-based areas. Thanks in part to an investment by the federal government, CDCUs have survived and grown despite the deep financial crisis that has devastated low-income communities. The presentation will cover the effects of the crisis on low-income financial institutions, the impact of public-sector support, and the prospects for growth of the community development financial sector. is an official media sponsor of fiess2011. Stay connected to us for special fiess2011 features and updates leading up to and during the conference.

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