Big Society Capital, the wholesale lender to social finance providers, is expected to be fully operational and making investments by early 2012, according to Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society.
Hurd made the statement in response to a written parliamentary question from Gareth Thomas, his Labour shadow.
"I expect the Big Society Bank to become operational and start making investments in early 2012," said Hurd.
Before Big Society Capital can start its work, it must receive approval from the European Commission and the Financial Services Authority, agree terms with four high-street banks on an injection of £200m and formally agree a governance structure with the Cabinet Office.
A BSC spokesman said it expected all of these hurdles to be overcome by the end of March next year.
In the meantime, an interim investment committee based at the Big Lottery Fund will support the growth of the social investment market, using £5m from the dormant accounts scheme. It announced a £1m investment in the Private Equity Foundation in July.