Sahulat Journal 1, Vol. 1, June 2012, No.1
Grameen Bank, Bangladesh
Grameen Bank in Bangladesh was initiated in the year 1976 by Professor Muhammad Yunus, then the Head of the Rural Economics Program at the University of Chittagong. It was an action research programme aimed at examining the possibility of designing a credit delivery system for rural poor. Its objective included: eliminating the exploitation of the poor by money lenders; creating opportunities for self-employment for the rural poor; and capacity building of women for managing their economy; etc. The work started in a village named Jobra which is adjacent to Chittagong University. It attracted sponsorship from the central bank and nationalised banks and its area of operation was extended in 1979. In 1983 it was transformed into an independent bank by a government ordinance. Borrowers of the bank own 96.71% of its shares, while the remaining 3.29% is owned by the government, Sonali Bank Limited and Bangladesh Krishi Bank. 95% of the borrowers comprise women. Bankers Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton of Shore Bank, a community development bank in Chicago, helped Yunus with the official incorporation of the bank under a grant from the Ford Foundation. By 2006, Grameen Bank branches numbered over 2,100. Its success has inspired similar projects in more than 40 countries around the world and has made World Bank to take an initiative to finance Grameen-type schemes. The bank has been getting funds from donor agencies world-over and Central Bank of Bangladesh besides the government of Bangladesh which has guaranteed and heavily subsidised bonds issued by the Grameen Bank.