Thursday, September 29, 2011

US Economy ripe for micro loans

Grameen Bank opens New York Branch

Hello Mayor, and seedy council!

As long as you're doing anything to help our economy why don't you check out the work of Grameen America Bank. They specialize in micro-loans meant to help single mothers and others that might be living at or near the poverty level to achieve some self-sufficiency.  The bank started in India and has now spread to the United States. Forget about doing the fracking industry any favors for a while and try actually helping someone that needs help for a change.


Alma sits proudly behind a folding table showing off a line of Jafra Cosmetics.

“We sell perfumes, makeup, lipsticks,” she said. Alma and four other women started the door-to-door cosmetics sales company with a $1,500 loan from Grameen America, an offshoot of Grameen Bank, the nonprofit, low-income lender started by Nobel laureate  Muhammad Yunus.

Before this, Alma worked odd jobs in stores and bakeries but never made enough to cross to the other side of  the poverty line. “This brings back the hope that I can take care of myself,” she said at the ribbon-cutting for a Grameen branch in the South Bronx.

Grameen America operates branches in New York, Nebraska and Indiana.  Most of the borrowers are single mothers looking to become entrepreneurs.  Micro-financing  is frequent in the Third World, and Yunus told ABC News there was, especailly in these economic times, a need for it in the U.S.

“This works for people, particularly people who are unemployed,” Yunus said.  “It’s always needed but now it’s needed most.  Those who are losing jobs, this is what brings them in.”

Yunus is looking to expand to San Francisco and, perhaps, Detroit, as more Americans slip into poverty.
To help navigate American banking regulations, Grameen America has partnered with CitiBank

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