>Posted by Center Staff
It has been an eventful week here in Washington DC, with historic Supreme Court rulings on health care and immigration and a long-awaited deal on student loans. But in the midst of their busy summer season, a number of U.S. Senators found time to support global microfinance.
On Wednesday, all of the female United States Senators joined together to pen a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, expressing their strong support for the Grameen Bank. These 17 women declared that the Grameen Bank has served as a model for innovation worldwide, positively affecting the communities in which it works and inspiring countless individuals to tackle the issue of poverty alleviation. The Senators expressed their worry that actions to impact the Bank’s operations would ultimately harm its 8.3 million members – 97 percent of whom are women. These members own 97 percent of the Bank’s shares, making the Grameen Bank one of the largest institutions in the world owned by rural women.
In May, the government of Bangladesh created a four-member commission to determine “future steps to be taken” about the Grameen Bank and the 54 Grameen-affiliated social businesses. Grameen Bank’s founder, Muhammad Yunus, who was forced out as managing director of the Bank in March 2011, expressed concern that this could lead to a government takeover of the Grameen institutions.
The Microfinance CEO Working Group (which includes the CEOs of Accion, FINCA, Freedom from Hunger, Grameen Foundation, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, VisionFund International, and Women’s World Banking) helped bring all the women Senators to the table. They reached out to their connections and representatives to underscore the importance of the Grameen Bank both to its customers and to the world of microfinance.
The Grameen Foundation has also developed a petition expressing support for Grameen to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You can sign the petition here.
Have You Read?
Future of Grameen Bank: My fears
RESULTS Stands with Female Senators in Support of Grameen Bank
13 Key Institutions in Microfinance Industry Sign Open Letter Supporting Muhammad Yunus