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Banco Palmas


Banco Palmas is a Brazilian community bank founded in 1998 in Conjunto Palmeiras, a neighborhood of 32,000 inhabitants located in the suburbs of Fortaleza. The bank operates under the principle of the "Solidarity Socio-Economy."


It is the first of currently 103 similarly structured community banks - also known as "community development banks" (CDBs) - throughout Brazil. It is managed locally by the Association of Residents of Conjunto Palmeira (Associação dos Moradores do Conjunto Palmeira), known by its acronym ASMOCONP. Most of the members of the staff are working as volunteers.


Its mission is to implement programs and projects for work and income generation using solidarity economy systems primarily focused on overcoming urban and rural poverty. Its objective is to ensure micro-credits for local production and consumption with low interest rates and no requirements for registration, proof of income, or guarantor.  Its mission is also to provide access to banking services to residents of poorer communities, who generally would not otherwise have access to them in traditional banks, based on lack of credit history or financial collateral and/or physical distance.


The main theory behind Banco Palmas, its actions, its achievements and its history, is that there does not exist an inherently economically poor territory (be it neighborhood, region, or municipality). Territories become poor after repeatedly losing their own savings. Despite the level of poverty of any given territory, it is always capable of achieving economic development. Such development must be autonomous, from within, otherwise, it will not be sustainable.


In March 2003, ASMOCONP also established the Instituto Palmas, a non-profit, civil society organization created from the experience of ASMOCONP in order to:

• Negotiate new and manage existing financial partnerships

• Assist in the implementation of community banks in other communities

• Gather data about the people and operations throughout the network

• Release official publications about the community bank experience in Brazil

• Provide staff and community trainings throughout the network

• Develop new and manage existing financial products


Instituto Palmas acts as an umbrella organization by managing the network and providing legal support to all community banks, many of which are just local associations with no institutional structure. Instituto Palmas has partnerships with the public sector and official banks.


From a legal standpoint, Banco Palmas (and a majority of the Community Banks) work under the protection of the legal framework of Instituto Palmas. In 2009 the Brazilian government created a framework for social currencies thereby giving complementary currencies an official status. The relationship with the Central Bank and the Brazilian Network of Community Banks in regard to the use of the social currency has been significantly positive.


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Type of initiative Bank
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 1998
Legal form
Continent South America
Country Brasil
City Fortaleza
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Community Bank based on the principles of the Solidarity Economy
Publications Video, newsletters, research, books
More information

Contact person(s)

Carlos de Freitas


Contact information

Name Palmas Institute
Address 9, Rue Coypel
Zip/postal code 75013
Place Paris
State/province őle-de-France
Country France
Phone + 33 6 61 72 92 70



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