Thursday, October 25, 2007

Changes to Grameen Bank's structure

Thanks to the Military backed Government currently running Bangladesh, Grameen Bank has achieved certain relaxation in the norms governing its functioning. It has to be noted that it was during the time of General Ershad, the military dictator, that Grameen Bank came into being. The current changes are:
  • Grameen Bank allowed to operate branches in urban areas. Earlier they could open branches only in the rural areas.
  • Government stake cut down from 25% to 15%. Note that when the Bank started, Government had a stake of 60%.
  • Number of Government nominated directors brought down to 2 from 3.
  • Chairman of the bank will be appointed by the board instead of Government nomination which existed until now.
This move will strengthen Muhammad Yunus to be at the helm of the bank for quite a while to come. When Yunus decided to run for elections, the political parties got quite antsy. Of course, all legislations can be amended again by newly elected Government, but there could be a lot of resistance form People if such moves are seen as inimical to them.

Microplace - Online microfinance

An Ebay owned company Microplace has launched a site through which online folks can invest any sum over US$100, earn some interest, and hope thew money invested goes to help poor people around the world in the form of microfinance. [Source]

This venture is different from, in that Kiva provides a direct people-to-people microfinance exchange, and you cannot earn any interest.

Now is not the time to discuss which is better. More the merrier.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Grameen Bank goes to USA

Mohammad Yunus has set up Grameen America, based at Queens, New York.
The Grameen office, where the door is always open in the Bangladeshi tradition, is a modest room down a flight of stairs under a doctor's office. Every day, Newaz walks along Jackson Avenue, going into one storefront after another, asking shop owners if they know groups of women who might want to borrow money.
Yunus has already started his operation in Mumbai, India.