Financial services

Shared Interest provides ethical finance; working in parts of the world where other lenders are less keen to operate.

This year, we continued to focus on reaching small farming and handcraft groups in disadvantaged areas, with 47% of customers having a turnover of below £500,000.

We balance the desire for our lending to reach those who need it most, with the need to avoid placing our members' capital at excessive risk. We control this risk by setting a prudential limit on approved facilities of 135% of our Share Capital and reserves.

Although we do offer term loans for the purchase of assets such as trucks, or infrastructure such as a cableway to help move bananas, the majority of our lending can be classed as short term rolling facilities.

This is usually in the form of export credit, providing working capital to help a producer group fulfil their orders, or a stock facility for building up raw materials. Both types of lending are designed to be repaid as contracts are fulfilled. The funds are then released and lent again.

By taking advantage of the different harvest seasons across products and regions, we can commit a higher value of lending than the total value of our Share Capital. You can see the products our lending supports on the page opposite. This year, we provided a line of credit for three new products: flowers (Kenya), coconuts (Ghana) and alpaca fibre (Peru).

 You can read more about Financial Services in Social Accounts