Returning to Bangladesh at the end of the Liberation War in 1971, Muhammad Yunus began providing loans to poor village artisans – stool-makers and basket-weavers – women who were trapped in a cycle of borrowing tiny sums of money for their raw materials in return for interest rates as high as 10% per week and agreement to sell their products back to the moneylenders at rock-bottom prices.
Today, his Grameen (‘village’ in Bengali) Bank serves 8 million borrowers in 80,000 villages. It lends $100 million per month with an average loan size of $200 and a repayment rate of 98%. Its market is the poorest of the poor.
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