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El Banco Galicia

addresses social investment from the continuum of capital

El Banco Galicia

addresses social investment from the continuum of capital

Argentina / Company


One of the main banks in Argentina, Banco Galicia, has developed a strategic vision of the role that social investment has as a vehicle to promote entrepreneurship and economic development. A leader in sustainability, the bank has stood out in the Argentinian financial sector as a social actor looking to change the realities of the communities where it operates.

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Background and Context

Background and Context

After the 2001 crisis, Argentina had a decade of economic growth with rates close to 8% annually. However, this situation did not have an impact on all citizens in the same way, and the country kept a very unequal social structure with an education system that still does not create social mobility in the labor market. In a more recent diagnosis, the country started moving towards a recession again.

According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been falling for the past ten years, and its inflation –which in 2019 attained 53.8% a year– is the secondhighest inflation in South America, only behind Venezuela. Unemployment is at 10%, and poverty reaches 40.8% of the population, of a little over 40 million inhabitants, according to the Catholic University of Argentina’s (UCA) Observatory for Social Debt.

Aware that a country’s financial sector plays an essential role in its social and economic development through savings, investment, and credit, Banco Galicia –one of the main private banks in Argentina– has acted in the last few decades in the sustainable development of the country around three main points: i) strategic social investment through its own programs and support to third parties in education, employment, health, and volunteer work; ii) financing and training for triple-impact (social, economic, and environmental) entrepreneurs; and iii) management of their value chain.



Founded in 1905, Banco Galicia, through different distribution channels and more than 6000 collaborators, provides financial services to more than 3 million clients, both natural and legal persons, and operates a vast and diversified distribution network.

In the past fifteen years, sustainability has come a long way within the organization, moving from a sector focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility programs (2005) to creating a Sustainability Department (2018) with resources and initiatives whose goal is to achieve the integration of the triple impact in every link of its value chain.

Banco Galicia’s social investment strategy focuses on developing society by tackling the challenges that the communities and the context consider a priority. Research conducted among their client base showed the topics and concerns to which they should devote their efforts: education, employment opportunities, and health. Whether by means of its own programs, strategic partnerships or institutional support, the bank has allocated resources to promote the development of different actors, always working in collaboration with public sector and civil society specialists.

"What we strive to do is to leave installed capacity through our own programs, built with organizations that know the subject matter, as they are our allies in each project’s management. We understand that, bringing together those organizations, we can have a greater impact and investment scalability".

Florencia Pereira

Sustainability Management.


¹Global movement that intends to redefine the concept of success in business and identify enterprises using their market power to solve a social and environmental issue For more information

Another relevant movement in this vision has been approaching Sistema B¹, where in the past three years Banco Galicia has sponsored training programs and processes for entrepreneurs in the network. The bank realizes that access to credit is one of the main demands (and challenges) of the so-called “tripleimpact enterprises”, those whose goal is economic growth with a positive social and environmental performance.

The bank therefore decided to expand its social investment strategy towards a business vision incorporating two unprecedented initiatives in 2020 –an own initiative and another one to support a third party– aimed at promoting responsible financing and entrepreneurs, thus strengthening their commitment to be an important driver for sustainable development in the country.

In this way, today the institution consolidates a social investment strategy that encompasses the whole continuum of capital. Its actions go from strategic support in education, employment, and health sectors, to training and credit products for triple-impact entrepreneurs –including microcredit and loans for agribusiness and green-technology entrepreneurs–, the issuance of the first private-sector Green Bond and Social Bond in Argentina in 2018 and 2019, respectively, all the way to a socially responsible investment portfolio (ESG: environmental, social and governance).


The design and development of all the bank’s social investment initiatives is based on three principles: i) efficient use of resources to solve relevant issues, ii) coordination with specialists and the public sector for expanded intervention, and iii) influence capacity to bring about real transformations. Two relevant examples of this joint work are the recent initiatives with the Sistema B network and the Sumatoria platform, on the basis of businesses’ demand for capital to sustainably encourage triple-impact entrepreneurship in the country.

"In the Bank we believe that all organizations have a social role beyond economic impact. Our purpose being to improve people’s everyday life, we are convinced that it is necessary to support triple-impact innovative businesses. To promote this ecosystem, we provide entrepreneurs from the sustainable paradigm with financing and training".

Florencia Pereira

Sustainability Management.

The bank realizes that access to credit is one of the main demands (and challenges) of the so-called “tripleimpact enterprises”.

²Its goal is to facilitate financial inclusion for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises by granting securities. For more information
³Digital investment platform promoting the development of impactful finance through financial instruments and vehicles that fund projects with a positive impact on society and the planet. For more information
⁴Support network for businesses that has been strengthening entrepreneurs with projects with a positive socio-environmental impact in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia for the past fourteen years. For more information

Tailored Finance

Launched in June 2020, Línea + B is a credit line for Sistema B certified enterprises, enterprises in the process of certification, or enterprises that, while they are not certified, are considered tripleimpact enterprises based on a specific evaluation by the bank. The exclusive credit line is the result of a collaboration with Sistema B and with SGR Resiliencia², to be used for working capital and productive investment purposes for enterprises in need for loans that range between USD 25,000 and 64,000 approximately. In five months, more than 75% of the line has been disbursed among twelve national B community enterprises.

The Línea + B product offers two options: an immediate unsecured loan set at a rate of 29% annual interest (with no commissions, which reduces financing costs by almost 1.5 or 2 points); or a lower rate loan secured by SGR Resiliencia, set at 24% annual interest rate. Both options have a 12-month term, with monthly payments. It is important to mention that, due to the high inflation in Argentina, the fixedrate model is in itself a novelty, making Línea + B one of the most attractive credit offers in the country.

As B certified companies (or those in the process of certification) have immediate access to the product at the bank’s agencies, the phase prior to launching the credit line included a search for certified enterprises in the financial institution’s database, so that they were the first ones to receive the offer during an exclusive launch through an event organized along with Sistema B.

Enterprises that are not certified but can demonstrate a triple impact can also have access to the product. In these cases, verification takes place by means of a framework developed by Banco Galicia in partnership with Sistema B and Mayma, organizations with experience in training and promoting positive-impact businesses. This assessment takes into account entrepreneurships creating jobs in low-supply sectors; hiring people or suppliers, focusing on inclusion; contributing to poverty reduction; improving education, training and the hierarchy of the current labor market; and/or promoting the recovery of businesses, values, and local cultures. Social businesses that promote recycling, clean production based on inputs and processes with a lower carbon or water footprint, or projects providing products and promoting the restoration of ecosystems, water courses, forests, or grasslands.

The collaboration with the crowdlending platform Sumatoria³ took place in light of the COVID-19 crisis emergency. The bank contributed a non-refundable USD 60,000 donation to the CoVida 20 Fund – Emergency Fund for Social Economy, managed by the platform to fund enterprises, associations, and cooperatives in vulnerable sectors in the country. The objective of the fund is to increase access to credit by lower-impact entrepreneurs and cooperatives of the Argentinian social economy.

The loan takes place through the platform with tickets up to USD 9000 at a zero-interest-rate, with a three- to six-month period for enterprises. Once the loan is repaid, that capital is available again for other entrepreneurs. At the end of the funding of a project, the platform is responsible for managing the loan, including its monitoring.

Non-financial support

In order to boost a higher-impact economy, Banco Galicia is aware that besides offering credit it also has to promote an entrepreneurial culture. As such, the Bank has subsidized programs and training for impact entrepreneurs that are part of the Mayma network⁴. With support from the Bank, the network launched this year the “Mayma Rosario Impact Program”, a free virtual program for 25 entrepreneurs in charge of businesses with an impact on the region. By means of seminars, workshops, and mentorships, the best group will be given a grant for the + B International Meeting, scheduled to take place in Mexico in 2021, organized by Sistema B.



MAIS, the Matrix for Social Investment Analysis, is an impact measurement methodology developed in 2011 by the bank itself, following international Social Return on Investment (SROI) standards and Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS). The tool emanates from a crucial need for the organization to professionalize its investments, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of its projects in three main dimensions (Organization, Program, and Beneficiaries). The results achieved allow for deeper knowledge on partner organizations, on top of providing qualitative and quantitative information on the scope of social investment and the impact created.

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MAIS offers a clear diagnosis of the investment’s impact and transforming power on civil society. Every organization is assessed based on 35 indicators related to the social return on investment and its organizational performance.

Every year, a sample proportional to the number of supported organizations is selected and analyzed on the matrix, which is then reflected on the bank’s information to communicate socio-environmental impact results.

MAIS offers, a clear diagnosis of the investment’s impact and transforming power on civil society.

In 2019, new adaptations to the matrix were implemented in order to measure organizations’ contributions and their supported programs, related to women’s empowerment and equal opportunity. Some of the reference points used are the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) promoted by the Global Compact and UN WOMEN.

Learnings and Perspectives

Learnings and Perspectives

Some principal learnings by Banco Galicia in social investment and financing initiatives in Argentina are:

Cross-cutting business sustainability

Sustainable actions cannot be peripheral and isolated; rather, they have to be cross-cutting throughout the business strategy. Understanding its role as a driver for the country’s economy, the potential to escalate products and its own impact culture made the Bank introduce its social strategy into its business.

From social responsibility to social development

By taking the sustainability logic to the business, a more strategic investment vision was also developed. Even if by means of donations, Banco Galicia finances structuring initiatives and actions, always focusing on the long term to boost and empower the benefiting community, looking for change that is sustained over time.

Measure to manage

Professionalizing impact management also happens by developing a robust action measurement and follow-up strategy.

"Measuring to manage is extremely important in every respect. This is part of that professionalization. Having a methodology that can show what you are doing well, what you need to delve into, together with examples of good practices from your peers, helps to continuously improve, to achieve banking with a positive impact".

María Alejandra Gonzalez

Head of the Banco Galicia Environmental Strategy Department.

Collaborating with its sector and other industries

Being a pioneer organization in the sector in which it operates also means contributing lessons to spur the whole chain on to grow at the same speed. Likewise, collaborating with other industries provides lessons in a win-win logic, joining forces and experience towards the same goal: the sustainable development of the country.

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