“Bank for the Unbanked” Comes to America

Another interesting article on Muhammad Yunus…

Yunus recently brought hsi world-renown Grameen microfinance model to America. What had been increasingly labeled as a “Third World” project, Yunus decided to implant his ideas into the heart of New York City. Beginning in modest numbers, as did the original Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Grameen America is a small project that currently serves about 600 borrowers. Grameen America faces many challenges, including: different social circumstances than what Yunus saw in Bangladesh, a more rigid financial structure, and especially difficult — the perception that microfinance is only for underdeveloped, third world countries.

Extreme poverty knows no boundaries. Although the country as a whole may be significantly better off than the Third World, the US government still estimates that 12% – 17% of the American population lives below the poverty line. Facing these challenges and our current economic times, what does Muhammad Yunus hope for in Grameen America? That more people will be let into the financial system. Indeed, this is an important goal, even in the world’s richest nation.