Micro-loans to US poor from Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Grameen Bank of Bangladesh has made the first loans to U.S. citizens who do not have a bank account. Grameen Bank is experienced in micro-financing in its home country, lending money to poor women that want to start small businesses.
Since the start of the mortgage-crisis more people in the U.S. tend to turn to fringe financial institutions bypassing the mainstream bank institutes. “Now is a good time because of … the subprime crisis and that highlights the issue that the financial system is not perfect,” , says the bank’s founder and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Grameen Bank started in 1976 by lending a total amount of $27.00 to 42 Bangladesh women. To date the bank has made over $6.5 billion in loans to 7 million people in Bangladesh.
Grameen Bank’s first loans of approximately $50,000.00 in total in the U.S. was to a group of women in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City. Garmeen Bank plans to offer $176 million in loans in New York City the next five years, and after that expanding into business as remittances and mortgages all over the U.S., as it has done in Bangladesh.