Grameen America, Inc. is a nonprofit microfinance organization that provides loans, education and other financial services to the poorest of the poor in the United States. With no requirements of capital or credit history, our members enter our program struggling to make ends meet and to support their families, but willing to invest their time and trust in us in order to create a better life. They gradually transform into a community of entrepreneurs, focused on building their businesses and supporting one another. They learn to view themselves as business owners and to think in terms of the desired returns they need to help their families.
Through financial education and services, Grameen America provides a ladder through which our clients can pull themselves out of poverty. As many of our borrowers are single mothers, the financial empowerment fostered by Grameen America’s work impacts not only the women, but their children as well. Our clients’ new found financial literacy and financial independence will be passed on to their children to break the generational cycle of poverty.
We owe much of our success to the work of the Chairman of our Board, Professor Muhammad Yunus, who, alongside Grameen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Over thirty years ago, Professor Yunus, gave $27 to 42 poor villagers in Bangladesh who then repaid him in full. This experience inspired him to found the Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization that has improved the lives of over 8 million Bangladeshis living in poverty. The Grameen Bank's success is attributable not only to its innovative structure of lending, but also the beliefs that underlie that structure: that all people, no matter what their current income, have the innate creativity and skills to start businesses and generate income for themselves and when provided the opportunity, the poor can lift themselves out of poverty to create better lives for themselves and future generations.Our Success to Date*
Since Grameen America first opened our doors in 2008, we have achieved the following:$15,500,000
lent out in microloans$700,000
deposited in borrower savings accounts5,400
of borrowers establishing saving50
hours of annual financial training/borrower5
Grameen America neighborhoods created
*last updated March 15, 2011Products & Services Offered
The core aspect of the Grameen microfinance program is our group-lending model perfected by Professor Yunus & Grameen Bank. Through our group-lending model, borrowers are required to self-form groups of five prior to receiving a loan, and meet weekly with our staff to repay principal, interest & deposit savings. While each borrower is individually responsible for her own loan; the size of future loans is dependent on successful repayment by all group members. This weekly group model promotes successful repayment, builds peer support networks, and provides a valuable forum for best-practice sharing and training on financial issues.
Grameen America’s success and high repayment rate are due to a holistic approach that supports financial empowerment and promotes economic self-sufficiency. Our program incorporates the following aspects:Business Loan :
We provide low-cost loans to those living in poverty in the United States. Our maximum first-time loan is $1,500. We do not require credit history or collateral and we charge no application or late fees.Savings:
Prior to receiving a loan, Grameen requires and helps all borrowers to open no-fee, no-minimum-balance personal savings accounts at local partner banks. Borrowers are required to make weekly deposits of at least $2.Credit Establishment:
Grameen America reports borrower repayments to Experian. For many of our borrowers, this is a significant first step towards building credit history and becoming integrated with the mainstream economy.Financial Education:
Prior to receiving a loan, borrowers are required to complete a five-day (1 hour session/day) group training program where they learn about interest rates, loan and savings products, and credit establishment. Borrowers receive further financial literacy training at their weekly group meetings on practical topics such as resources for business planning.Learn More
Our Homepage: www.grameenamerica.org
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