Oikocredit (in full Oikocredit, Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society U.A.) is a cooperative society that offers loans or investment capital for microfinance institutions, cooperatives and small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. It is one of the world's largest private financiers of the microfinance sector. The idea of Oikocredit came from a 1968 meeting of the World Council of Churches. Following this, Oikocredit was established in 1975.
As a co-operative, Oikocredit finances and invests in fair trade organisations, co-operatives, microfinance institutions, and small to medium-sized enterprises in 63 developing countries, with the aim of effecting positive social change.
In turn, Oikocredit’s 800+ partners provide entrepreneurs, small businesses, agricultural co-operatives, and other productive enterprises with the long-term capital and other support they need to build their businesses, support their families, sustain their communities, and help protect the planet.
On 25 March 2010, Oikocredit announced that it had reached € 1 billion in cumulative committed loans and investments since the organisation began its operations. In 2009, a year when financial institutions encountered difficult market conditions, Oikocredit achieved record high inflows. Oikocredit's capital inflow reached € 62.9 million and its total assets grew by 13% to € 537 million at the year end.
Oikocredit’s financial resources primarily derive from investments (£150 minimum, no maximum) contributed by 52,000 individuals, institutions and faith-based organisations worldwide. In return, investors have received stable gross dividends paid (or re-invested) annually since 2000 with no fixed notice period, together with annual social performance reports that monitor the impact of Oikocredit and their partner organisations in developing countries.
As of 2014, Oikocredit channeled €40.3m (£31.7m) of its investment capital into 85 fair trade partner organisations, many in coffee and cocoa enterprises in Latin America and Africa.
In 2014 Oikocredit launches an agriculture unit headed from Lima, Peru. The cooperative also diversifies into renewable energy, recruiting a renewable energy financing expert, to source deals across low-income countries.
"Oiko" is derived from the Greek word oikos, which means "the house, the place where the people live together".
The word "credit" does not only refer to financial credit, but also to the Latin verb, credere, "to believe".
- Prospectus of Oikocredit, 19 June 2009; Cooperative Society U.A. Dutch: coöperatie met uitsluiting van aansprakelijkheid = co-operative society with excluded liability
- "Oikocredit". Churches Together in England. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Press Release on € 1 billion cumulative investments with social impact
- Middleton, Monica. "Social investment: a powerful tool to affect positive change". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "Oikocredit launches banking partnership with social bank ABS in Switzerland". Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- Oikocredit: official website