9. A new era led by expansion
In 2003, Banco Palmas created the Instituto Palmas (Palmas Institute) with the objective of replicating the experiences of the bank throughout Brazil. As a result, in 2004, the second community bank, Banco Par, was opened in the close-by municipality of Paracuru. Two year later, five more community banks began operations in other Brazilian states, thus leading to a network of Brazilian community banks. Instituto Palmas gradually developed procedures to ensure the proper functioning of the network and to validate the various community banks’ policies, currencies and other attributes.
Five years after the Institute’s creation, the network escalated to 37 operating agencies; until it finally skyrocketed to 78 banks in 2012 (see Figure 14). Spread across 16 Brazilian states, these banks provide excluded communities with access to banking services and products.
Figure 14:The expansion of Instituto Palmas community banks