Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Microcredit Missionary

BusinessWeek has a short write-up on the Muhammad Yunus -- the microcredit missionary. What the poor need is not charity but trust & support is the premise of the revolution Mr.Yunus has spawned through his Grameen initiative.

BW reports , " As a young economics professor at Chittagong University in Bangladesh in 1976, Muhammad Yunus lent $27 out of his own pocket to a group of poor craftsmen in the nearby town of Jobra. To boost the impact of that small sum, Yunus volunteered to serve as guarantor on a larger loan from a traditional bank, kindling the idea for a village-based enterprise called the Grameen Project. It never occurred to the professor that his gesture would inspire a whole category of lending and propel him to the top of a powerful financial institution.

Today, Yunus runs Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, a leading advocate for the world's poor that has lent more than $5.1 billion to 5.3 million people. The bank is built on Yunus' conviction that poor people can be both reliable borrowers and avid entrepreneurs. It even includes a project called Struggling Members Program that serves 55,000 beggars. Under Yunus, Grameen has spread the idea of microcredit throughout Bangladesh, Southern Asia, and the rest of the developing world. When Yunus started Grameen, he wanted to turn traditional banking on its head. One of his first moves was to focus on women because they are most likely to think of the family's needs. This was a radical step in a traditional Muslim society, and it took Yunus six years to reach his initial goal of a 50-50 gender distribution among borrowers. Today, 96% of Grameen's borrowers are women. "If banks made large loans, he made small loans. If banks required paperwork, his loans were for the illiterate. Whatever banks did, he did the opposite," marvels Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. "He's a genius."

5 Comments:

  • Now thats awesome indeed

    By Blogger peace092677, at 10:27 AM  

  • Short and apt discussion point. The micro credit has started taking its roots in the sub-continent. No wonders why even foregin banks have started looking at this "soft spot" sector. Icici is a strong contender in making inroads. For a person from the rural and semi-uraban centres, this is a welcome move ( as long as he is not corrupted by the politicians) for a cheaper credit to get out of the clutches of the ubiquotous money lenders and pawn brokers. The social stigma very strongly attached to default in a village is a positive point for the banks to suddenly show interest in this sector, under the (good or bad) guise of sustainable development.
    KM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 PM  

  • hey u can write such serious posts as well?? gr8..

    By Blogger Hell's Angel, at 7:40 PM  

  • peace - yes,indeed.

    KM - yeah, even I have been hearing about ICICI's entry into this. Vinod Khosla , the famous VC is also very keen on microcredit in the Indian market. Yeah, I am not sure about if the big banks mean well but at least the ends look noble.

    By Blogger Cogito, at 10:04 AM  

  • Sorry for this comment on an old post. But I thought I will let you know of the following link which might be of interest to you:
    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/289/
    This is a video of Mohammad Yunus talking about Grameen Bank.

    By Blogger Niranjan, at 8:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home