Microfinance in Bangladesh: It's Not What You Thought

>  Posted by Center Staff
Elisabeth Rhyne recently contributed a blog to the Huffington Post that explores the state of the microfinance industry in Bangladesh. The piece begins:
Ask a casual observer to describe microfinance, and most likely he or she will mention Bangladesh and tiny group-guaranteed loans for women. But on a recent trip to Bangladesh, I learned that the Bangladeshi microfinance sector has moved on. Way on.
The model of microfinance in Bangladesh, as it originated at Grameen Bank, involved tiny loans to women with fixed terms and amounts, group liability, weekly meetings, forced payments into a group savings account, and a set of 16 social pledges chanted each week while standing at attention. The Grameen model spawned imitators around the world, involving a large share of microfinance clients in India, the Philippines and East Africa, among other places.
But while many in the microfinance industry and outside it equate microfinance with the Grameen model, Grameen itself, as well as the other microfinance institutions in Bangladesh, have quietly re-engineered their models to pursue an expanded vision. The most dramatic shift occurred in 2002, with the introduction of Grameen II, a thorough re-tooling of Grameen Bank’s operations. Throughout the past decade, most of the hundreds of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Bangladesh have followed suit, experimenting with new lending methodologies, products and support services.
Click here to read the whole piece on Huffington Post.