The social development bank in Europe

Supporting the projects that care

Social care plays a vital role in advancing social inclusion. Thanks to its considerable experience financing the social economy sector in France, the CEB is well-placed to respond to the challenges of increasing demand for social care across Europe.

Social care in France
CEB funding supports assistance-through-work programmes in France (©Sylvie Dupic)
As a social development bank, the CEB has significant experience of financing social care in France, one of its founding member countries. Here, support and services for older people and people with disabilities are provided by a large number of government programmes, regional and local initiatives, as well the not-for-profit sector. 

The voluntary sector forms an integral part of the solidarity-based economy, which has traditionally been very strong in France. Most players in this sector are referred to as public interest organisations, and often operate under the legal form of associations. About 30% of services for older people and people with disabilities are provided by the not-for-profit sector. It supports 30% of all people who are dependent and 90% of those with disabilities.

The CEB’s role

The CEB is already supporting major players in the French social care sector via loans to Crédit Coopératif, Crédit Agricole or BPCE (Groupe Caisses d'Epargne). In the last ten years the CEB has invested €850 million to provide, among other things, vital services to people with disabilities and those of all ages who are experiencing difficulties day-to-day. 

The recipients of CEB funding include associations and foundations recognised as ‘public utilities’ according to French legislation, plus local associations approved by the community, under contract with the state or local authority. These private providers are financed with public money.

According to Murielle Déprez, Health and social care portfolio manager at BPCE (Caisses d’Épargne) – one of the commercial banks financed by the CEB – the demand for the services of the social care sector (médico-social) has seen a significant rise in the past 20 years.  

“The social care sector grew a lot. In the 2000s when the baby boom generation started retiring, we realised we were lacking places in the retirement homes. Moreover, there has been a wave of medicalisation of the sector. 

As we live longer, we need more treatment at the end of life, which increases the need for medicalisation, and consequently technology and financing.”

Challenges of the sector

However, public interest organisations have not been spared by the economic crisis in France. They have had to contend with public spending restrictions and reduced lending by banks and other financial institutions.  

As a result, many organisations have had had difficulties ensuring the continuity of their work and formulating investment projects. This is particularly the case with renovating and upgrading facilities, which is often a prerequisite for public financing.  

Another challenge for not-for-profit organisations delivering social care services in France is that the sector is strongly regulated and monitored by French public authorities. Players are required to meet a specific legislative and regulatory framework: the Social Action and Family Code, the Social Security Code, a specific accounting framework, plus procurement rules in accordance with European standards. Organisations need significant resources to meet all the norms. However, this ensures a certain level of standards and quality.

“Managers of institutions and services in the social care sector must now face exponential social needs, while the budgets allocated to them are constrained. In this context, they need access to more funds to sustain their activity, which is often essential to the local economic fabric and the maintenance of certain jobs,” says Magali Tarrin, Markets Manager at Crédit Coopératif.

Benefits of CEB funding

The CEB’s financing ensures stable long-term funding, allowing the continuity of vital services in the social care sector. This is the sector that traditional banks are reluctant to lend to and which often faces significant development obstacles because of challenges with accessing long-term finance and resources.  

The CEB-funded investments in health, medical, welfare and education facilities aim to provide vulnerable groups with functional premises and a safe environment that meets current standards while keeping the costs sustainable for the beneficiaries and the community.

“The resources allocated by the CEB allow Crédit Coopératif to support, under favorable pricing conditions, projects for the creation, extension or renovation of institutions for the elderly or disabled, supported by associations, mutual insurance companies, or even foundations,” Magali Tarrin, Markets Manager at Crédit Coopératif.

 While awareness to invest in social care is growing across the continent, the CEB as the social development bank in Europe is well positioned to develop its niche in the social care sector.


The CEB – supporting social care in France

  • €850 million

    for social economy in France

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