The Grameen Bank of Bangladesh (GB) provides banking services to the rural poor in Bangladesh, particularly poor women. Founded in 1976 by Mohammad Yunus, Professor of Economics at Chittagong University, the bank is best known for providing small, collateral-free loans (referred to as microcredit, microlending, or microfinance). Such loans-which are often less than $100-are intended to foster entrepreneurial activities and to help ease families out of poverty. Headquartered in the city of Minpur, the GB is currently a multimillion-dollar enterprise with more than 2,500 branches. Although some have raised concerns about the GB, others have lauded it as a model for successful economic stability and for the empowerment of women.

The GB program is based on “Sixteen Decisions,” a list of maxims that loan ...

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