Banking Revolution

Fairway Holdings Chairman Hemaka De Alwis

August 25, 2007 (LBO) – Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank has reached out to 124 million poorest families globally during its 31 years of existence, its founder, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus says. The Grameen Bank reaches into ‘risky market segments that formal banking sectors in poor countries dare not reach, touching the lives of millions of people.

We are happy that the goal that we set in 1997 – if you recollect we wanted to reach 100 million poorest families with micro credit – we have reached that, Yunus told a forum of micro-credit institutions in Colombo.

Poor Borrowers

Micro credit organizations like the Grameen Bank operate where there are millions of poor people with no access to credit.

Analysts say in addition to having high poverty such countries also need to have a weak formal banking system or a traditional banking system that lends on collateral rather than cash flows, for concepts such as Grameen to thrive.

In so-called developed countries there are fewer poor people for micro-credit institutions to cater to and banks have a strong focus on personal banking and products like credit cards and cashflow-based lending.

But in poor countries