Download the Kiva toolbar! - (what's this?)

August 27, 2014, 05:50:18 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register (it's quick and free!) for full access to all community features and functions, including instant messaging and message viewing preferences.

Login with username, password and session length

Cool Forum Options
: Not available. Login or register :)
: Popular Topics on Kiva Friends

Kivapedia
: View recent changes on Kivapedia
: Online shopping that helps support Kiva
: List of Kiva microfinance institutions
: List of Kiva group lenders
: Kiva Timeline : More...


.
Welcome to Kiva Friends, an active community for Kiva users, staff and supporters. Don't know what Kiva is? Read this!
   
   Home   Search Calendar Help Tags Login Register  

Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down
  Bookmark This  |  E-Mail This  |  Print It  
Author Topic: Grameen in Queens - Grameen America  (Read 24103 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest were last seen viewing this topic.
RichardF
Kiva Supporter
*****
Posts: 3944



View Profile
« on: September 30, 2007, 11:13:05 AM »

This topic is about Grameen America.

From...

Coming to America: The Grameen Bank Comes to Queens. Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus Starts Grameen America


Muhammad Yunus is shown at left. (ABC News)

By TERI WHITCRAFT
Sept. 30, 2007

Muhammad Yunus has come a long way since he first began giving money to poor people in his homeland of Bangladesh 31 years ago.

"I started giving them money out of my own pocket. The first loan I gave was to 42 people, a total of $27," he told ABC News. "And that got them so excited that I thought I should continue with this."

Since then, his revolutionary micro credit organization called the Grameen Bank (which means "village bank" in Bangladesh) has loaned money to 7½ million people and earned Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize.

It's an impressive track record. But now, Yunus is preparing to tackle what may his biggest challenge yet. He is bringing the concept of the Grameen Bank to America.

"We are locating it in Queens, New York City, where we see lots of immigrants living there -- and they are the ones, the most enterprising ones," Yunus told "This Week" during an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative. "And we thought, maybe, this is one area where we can test out all those ideas that we have. ... Then we can expand it in many other areas -- both within New York City and any other city anywhere in the U.S."

A Modest Office in Queens

Yunus chose a working class neighborhood in Queens to launch Grameen America. . His colleague and right-hand man, Shah Newaz, who was a student of the Nobel Prize winner 30 years ago, has moved his family to New York from Bangladesh to run the project under the direct supervision of Yunus.

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.

Looking for a Few Good Women

Newaz is looking for women because it was loaning money to poor women that made the Grameen Bank a success in Bangladesh. Today, it has a repayment rate of nearly 99 percent, and 97 percent of Grameen's borrowers are women.

According to Yunus, "When a women first time joins Grameen Bank, she's really scared. She doesn't know what happened to her, whether she's successful. She wants to take the smallest possible amount. She takes about $30, $35. ... Once she can pay back the loan, she becomes very confident. Self-esteem comes to her. She can do more.

"Money going to the family through women got so much more benefits to the family than the same amounts of money going to the family through men," Yunus continued. "Women took good care of the children. Women had a longer vision. They wanted to get away from all the problems of poverty; she has got to save a little money more cautiously. She used the money much more carefully than men used the money."

Grameen America's goal is to provide an effective, sustainable and measurable response to poverty in America, with a focus on women and immigrants.

A Grameen America PowerPoint presentation contains some startling statistics: Nearly 36 million people in America live at or below the poverty line; more than 20 million of those living at or below the poverty line are women; female householder families represent the largest concentration of the poor; and roughly one in four poor persons is an immigrant or a member of an immigrant's family.

No Credit, No Problem

The Grameen approach is exactly opposite most banks' approaches in the United States. If you don't have credit, most banks won't loan you money. For Grameen, if you don't have credit, you could be the perfect customer.

Today, Jackson Avenue is dotted with pawn shops and check-cashing storefronts that promise quick cash and easy money. That, according to Yunus, is exactly the kind of neighborhood that needs the Grameen Bank.

"I see pawn shops and it gives me a very bad feeling that here is the most sophisticated banking in the world, in this country ... but some people cannot find the money, so they have to give their valuables to take some little money out of that," said Yunus.

"And you see the cash checking," he added. "It's also ridiculous thing for me. It's very humiliating that I have a check, even a government check, I cannot get it cashed. So I have to go to cash checking, and I have to spend a lot of money ... and this is my hard-earned money. But I cannot take it to the bank and get the cash. ... And then payday loans -- this is another big business. That means a failure of the system."

'You Need a Dollar to Catch a Dollar'

"Credit should be accepted as a human right," Yunus told ABC News. There are other human rights, which are the right to work, right to shelter, right to food and all that. ... But the financial system is such [that] nobody will give the money. If you don't have a dollar in your hand, you can't catch a dollar. You need a dollar to catch a dollar."

The concept behind the Grameen bank is simple: Charge affordable interest, encourage small, regular repayments, and provide ongoing support to every borrower. But there's another key ingredient -- the so called "secret sauce." Clients are organized into borrowing groups of five persons, and individual business loans are made to group members who are supported by the group. During regular group meetings, the members use peer pressure to encourage the other borrowers to repay their loans.

The bank itself is a profit-making business owned by the shareholders, who are the borrowers. So any profit goes back into making loans.

Can It Succeed in America?

Yunus believes that Grameen America will provide a crucial service to help serve America's poor. And how does he respond to critics who say it can't work here?

"I have been hearing all my life: 'It can't be done,' he said. "I do not guarantee that it will be done, but no harm trying and keep trying. If I failed first, I try the second time. If I failed [the] second time, I try the third time. So this would be something, locally, to feel proud that, 'Yes, we did something which is now applicable not only for New York City, [but also] any city in the USA, any neighborhood in the USA, any small town in the USA."
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 10:02:52 AM by RichardF » Logged

Soul lives by giving.
RichardF
Kiva Supporter
*****
Posts: 3944



View Profile
« Reply To This #1 on: September 30, 2007, 11:32:15 AM »

See also...

Grameen Foundation : Where we work : United States

In the United States, more than 37 million people live below the poverty line; approximately 74 percent of them are located in major metropolitan areas. A wide variety of social, historical, cultural, educational and structural factors contribute to the persistence of poverty in the world’s richest nation. Despite these obstacles, poor people are embracing microentrepreneurship as a pathway out of poverty. In fact, many clients of U.S. microlenders break out of dead-end jobs, unemployment and dependence on public assistance to become successful entrepreneurs, creating jobs for their families and their communities.

Our partner microfinance institutions in the United States:


Other Partnerships

Grameen Foundation has provided support to other microfinance and microenterprise organizations in the United States including Miami-based Microbusiness USA, one of the leading programs in the country. -

Grameen Foundation also played a central role in supporting the establishment of the “New Opportunities” microfinance program of Volunteers of America’s Los Angeles chapter but has not provided financial support to that effort to date.

Supporters

Fred Deluca, the founder of Subway Restaurants, who began this billion-dollar business with a loan of $1,000 in 1965, was an early supporter of Grameen Foundation’s domestic programs along with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Learn more about microfinance for low income people in the US in Give Us Credit (Random House, 1996) by Grameen Foundation President and CEO Alex Counts.
Logged

Soul lives by giving.
Christopher
Kiva Supporter
London
*****
Gender: Male
Posts: 453



View Profile
WWW
« Reply To This #2 on: February 17, 2008, 07:33:31 AM »

Seems the Grameen operation in New York is stepping up a gear with some more press about what has happened since the end of last year.
This was in the FT http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d05bb6d2-dc30-11dc-bc82-0000779fd2ac.html

What grabbed my attention the most were the stats about the 'unbanked'...

Grameen Bank's loans to US poor
Bangladesh's Grameen Bank has made its first loans in New York in an attempt to bring its pioneering micro-finance techniques to the tens of millions of people in the world's richest country who have no bank account.

The bank's entry into the US, its first in a developed market, comes after mainstream banks' credibility has been hit by the mortgage meltdown and many people are turning to fringe financial institutions offering loans at exorbitant interest rates.

"Now is a good time because of . . . the subprime crisis and that highlights the issue that the financial system is not perfect," Muhammad Yunus, the bank's Nobel prize-winning founder, told the Financial Times.

Grameen has lent $50,000 (£25,500) in the past month to groups of immigrant women in Jackson Heights in New York's borough of Queens. During the next five years, it plans to offer $176m in loans within New York city, and then expand to the rest of the US.

In Bangladesh, Grameen lends to poor women seeking to start small enterprises but who cannot borrow from banks because they do not have accounts or a high enough credit rating.

The bank, which started with $27 in loans Mr Yunus made to 42 women in Bangladesh in 1976, has now made more than $6.5bn in loans to 7m people in the country.

In the US, about 28m people have no bank accounts, while 44.7m have only limited access to financial institutions. People often did not hold bank accounts because they had had credit problems, had no access to a local branch or they distrusted the mainstream financial system, said Jonathan Morduch, a microfinance expert at New York University.

Those outside and on the fringe of the banking system produce $1,400bn in annual income, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimates.

The so-called "unbanked" are forced to rely on fringe or black-market financial operations, which charge huge rates of interest, such as payday lending and loansharking.

The volume of payday loans, which can charge interest rates in excess of 1,500 per cent, handed out in the US has almost doubled to $48bn in the past five years, according to the Consumer Federation.

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, has highlighted the role of microfinance in incubating businesses. In a speech in November he hailed "the important role that micro-finance plays in bringing the opportunity for entrepreneurship to people who otherwise might not have it".

However, some micro-finance experts expressed doubt that Grameen could make an impact in the US, where credit was widely available and businesses and tax systems were much trickier to navigate than in developing countries.

After beginning with small loans to micro-entrepreneurs, Grameen plans to expand into other businesses, such as remittances and mortgages. as it has done in Bangladesh.
Logged

If you think you're too small to make a difference try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito, or give kiva.org a try.
charity
Kiva Supporter
*****
Gender: Female
Posts: 806


View Profile
« Reply To This #3 on: February 25, 2008, 07:54:14 PM »

This is interesting to read about Grameen operating in Queens.  Just recently, I also read about a microfinance and business training program for women in the Bay Area, California, called Womens Inititive for Self Employment.  Apparently the women who come in have an average annual income of $13,000, and some are illiterate.  They take a 20 session business management course, and some get microloans of a few thousand dollars.  Apparently, within 12 months 68% have their own business, and 5 years later 70% of those are still in business!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/17/MNUFV3EO3.DTL&hw=women+loan&sn=001&sc=1000
Logged
RichardF
Kiva Supporter
*****
Posts: 3944



View Profile
« Reply To This #4 on: June 24, 2008, 10:16:32 AM »


Grameen America
Grameen America is a microcredit lender whose mission is to help entrepreneurial individuals, especially women, build credit and defeat poverty.


About Us
Grameen America is a microfinance organization with a mission to alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship. Grameen America provides loans, savings programs, credit establishment and other financial services to the working poor, especially women, in the United States.
 
How We Work
Grameen America provides small loans, known as “microloans”, and other financial services to people with very low incomes, especially women, who are looking to start or grow their small businesses. Grameen America relies on the Grameen lending model developed by Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.


Get Involved
Please join Grameen America in our mission to alleviate global poverty through microfinance.

You can join us by learning more about our lending program for borrowers, making a donation, attending an event or becoming more informed about microfinance. If you would like to help Grameen America in a professional capacity, see how we are partnering with companies to better serve our borrowers, or check out our career listings and join our team.

Borrow
Grameen America’s loans are for people with very low incomes, especially women, who have great business ideas but have difficulty accessing credit at reasonable rates.
 
Contribute
You can help Grameen America change lives in underserved U.S. communities by making a tax-deductible online contribution.
 
Partner
Our partners are integral to the success of Grameen America. Learn how they help further our mission to alleviate poverty through microfinance.
 
Event Calendar
Visit our events calendar to learn about upcoming Grameen America events and speaking engagements by Professor Muhammad Yunus.
 
Careers
Grameen America is looking for talented and motivated professionals to join our team.
 
Learn More
Learn more about Grameen, the poverty problem in the US and how microfinance empowers the poor to help themselves.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 12:31:10 PM by RichardF » Logged

Soul lives by giving.
jerome78
Kiva Supporter
Mainz
***
Gender: Male
Posts: 23


View Profile
« Reply To This #5 on: February 15, 2009, 02:34:04 PM »

Hi,
there is a video on the cnn.com website about Grameen America in Queens , I wish the borrowers all the best  Thumbs Up
Logged
Laure
Kiva Supporter
*****
Posts: 85


View Profile
« Reply To This #6 on: May 12, 2009, 02:54:04 PM »

another article on grameen america:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8037785.stm
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 02:54:48 PM by Laure » Logged
TheTatiana
Kiva Supporter
*****
Gender: Female
Posts: 395


my playground is the universe

View Profile
WWW
« Reply To This #7 on: May 12, 2009, 10:01:50 PM »

That's so awesome!  I have a business idea I'd like to get started, but I'm not below the poverty line.  I should write up a proposal and see if I can get financing for it from someone.  I think Grameen is doing something great.  I can't wait until they get to my city. 
Logged
RichardF
Kiva Supporter
*****
Posts: 3944



View Profile
« Reply To This #8 on: May 12, 2009, 10:24:59 PM »

Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Business.gov websites.  Smiley
Logged

Soul lives by giving.
TheTatiana
Kiva Supporter
*****
Gender: Female
Posts: 395


my playground is the universe

View Profile
WWW
« Reply To This #9 on: May 12, 2009, 10:46:28 PM »

Those are great resources, RichardF.  Thanks.  I'm also scared of starting a business, because it's such a huge responsibility and because you aren't insulated at all from the slings and arrows out there like you are when you're just an employee and draw a steady paycheck.  Like, maybe my boss struggled mightily to make payroll on more than one occasion but I never knew about it, you know?  I was blissful in my ignorance, and nothing beats that steady chug-chug beat of a regular biweekly check, every two weeks without fail.   Grin 

But it's a good idea, I think, and if I made it pay I could franchise the concept and expand indefinitely.  But do I really have the stomach for all the gambles, and the salesmanship to make it go over?  I'm not sure.  Are these just self-doubts that should be overcome with faith, or is this reality trying to tell me something?  I'm not sure of that either.  Grin
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
  Bookmark This  |  E-Mail This  |  Print It  
 
Jump to:  

 
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Thanks to PixelSlot
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.143 seconds with 23 queries.