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JOICFP News. 1993 Nov;(233):6.

Banking on women's spirit.



An interview with Professor Mummadad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, revealed that he has provided loans to poor women in Bangladesh since 1976 and that the Grameen Bank has continued his work since 1983. The idea behind the banking system is that poor people without traditionally accepted collateral are good credit risks. In 1993, the Grameen Bank had operations in 33,000 out of a possible 68,000 villages in Bangladesh. The operations include 1030 branches and a staff of 12,000 people. 1.6 million people are recipients of loans, of whom 94% are women. The population served is the poorest and has no experience in income generation. Conclusions drawn from this experience are that women are better managers of resources and are more serious entrepreneurs than men and that the benefits of loan programs for the poor go directly to children and households. Women's self-image suffers from negative social conceptions, and one task is to convince women of their value, skills, and possibility of advancement. The bank philosophy rests with the belief that all human beings are a "treasure of potential possibilities." Women are advised to protect their money and marriage and not to sacrifice one for the other. Husbands initially are against money going to wives, but eventually they understand that the family benefits. Over 200,000 loans have been made for the provision of housing. The loan requirement is that the woman must own the land on which the house is built. Husband's have the opportunity to transfer title of the land to the wife. Ownership of land provides security for the wife.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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