Friday, October 13, 2006

Yunus wins the Nobel Peace Prize

A post from Tom Peters:
Yunus is the father of microlending, one of the most potent tools of ours or any other times. Microlending was long dismissed by the powers that be (the World Bank among them) as being a peanuts idea. Big Loans for Big Projects was the ticket. Yup, big loans for big projects was the ticket for a few good things ... and an unimaginable amount of corruption.

Yunus started Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. A typical first loan is $15. After many a trial and many an error, Grameen ended up granting over 90% of its loans to women. (Women = Reliable. Men = Unreliable.) Lending primarily to women in a Muslim country was, to say the least, no mean feat. Yet Yunus persisted.

A few Yunusisms, from his marvelous 1999 book, Banker to the Poor:

"It's not people who aren't credit-worthy. It's banks that aren't people worthy."

"Conventional banks ask their clients to come to their office. It's a terrifying place for the poor and illiterate. ... The entire Grameen Bank system runs on the principle that people should not come to the bank, the bank should go to the people. ... If any staff member is seen in the office, it should be taken as a violation of the rules of the Grameen Bank. ... It is essential that [those setting up a new village Branch] have no office and no place to stay. The reason is to make us as different as possible from government officials."

"The Grameen loan is not simply cash. It becomes a kind of ticket to self-discovery and self-exploration."

And this from a Client's husband:

"There is one thing [I don't like about Grameen]. I used to enjoy beating my wife. But the Group came to me and argued with me and shouted at me. Who gave them the right to shout at me? The borrowing group threatened they will get really mean if I beat my wife again."
Related : News article, Wikipedia entry.

I first learned of Microfinance from the Perspectives course - in the section on Strategic Perspective.

If you are in school taking any kind of classes in marketing, accounting, economics, business development, or anything of that sort, it would due you very well to learn about microfinance.

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