Bangladesh Finance Minister A M A Muhith reportedly has announced that the national government “will form a commission to ensure ‘accountability’ of the Grameen social businesses run by Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus.” The minister argues that while these social businesses shared the name of microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Bank, it is unclear how the mission of institutions such as Grameenphone are related to microfinance lending. The commission is expected to investigate how Bangladeshi microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Bank launched the 54 Grameen social businesses. The type of wrongdoing that might be uncovered has not been specified, and no timeline for the work of the commission has been released. As MicroCapital reported at the time, Dr Yunus resigned from his post as managing director in May 2011 in accordance with a ruling of the country’s Supreme Court. Some have maintained that the government is attacking Dr Yunus and institutions affiliated with him on political ground rather than substantive issues.
Grameen Bank began experimenting with microcredit in 1976 and was transformed into an independent bank by government ordinance in 1983. As of December 31, 2010, Grameen Bank reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange total assets of USD 1.7 billion, return on assets (ROA) of 0.7 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 10.7 percent. As of September 30, 2011, Grameen Bank reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 959 million and 8.34 million active borrowers.
By Brendan Millan, Research Associate
About Dr Muhammad Yunus: Dr Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker, economist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. As a professor of economics, he built on the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. Dr Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank, a Bangladeshi microfinance institution. In 2006, Dr Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Yunus himself has also received several other national and international honors.
About Grameen Bank: Grameen Bank is a Bangladeshi microfinance institution that provides loans to poor entrepreneurs in rural areas. It was founded in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus, who, along with Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing the concept of microfinance. As of December 31, 2010, Grameen Bank reported to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange total assets of USD 1.7 billion, return on assets (ROA) of 0.7 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 10.7 percent. As of September 30, 2011, Grameen Bank reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 959 million and 8.34 million active borrowers.
About Grameenphone: Founded in 1997, Grameenphone is a social business providing telecommunications services in Bangladesh. As of 2011, Grameenphone has approximately 32 million subscribers.
Sources and Resources:
 The Economic Times: “Bangladeshtargets Muhammad Yunus’s social businesses”, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/bangladesh-targets-muhammad-yunuss-social-businesses/articleshow/12834476.cms
MicroCapital.org Article, April 13, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladesh Government Declines to Have Muhammad Yunus Recruit New Managing Director of Microfinance Institution Grameen Bank”, https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-bangladesh-government-declines-to-have-muhammad-yunus-recruit-new-managing-director-of-microfinance-institution-grameen-bank/
MicroCapital.org Article, February 28, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Proposes Microfinance Pioneer Muhammad Yunus as Next World Bank President”, https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-bangladeshi-prime-minister-proposes-microfinance-pioneer-muhammad-yunus-as-next-world-bank-president/
MicroCapital.org Article, February 11, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladeshi Government Reportedly Seeking Control of Grameen Bank ‘Empire’”, https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-bangladeshi-government-reportedly-seeking-control-of-grameen-bank-empire/
MicroCapital.org Article, January 5, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Dr Muhammad Yunus to Seek Court Review of His Removal as Managing Director of Bangladeshi Microfinance Institution Grameen Bank”, https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-dr-muhammad-yunus-to-seek-court-review-of-his-removal-as-managing-director-of-bangladeshi-microfinance-institution-grameen-bank/
MicroCapital.org Article, May 17, 2011, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Under Pressure Since February, Dr Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Bangladesh Microfinance Institution (MFI) Grameen Bank, Resigns as Managing Director”, https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-under-pressure-since-february-dr-muhammad-yunus-founder-of-bangladesh-microfinance-institution-mfi-grameen-bank-resigns-as-managing-director/
MicroCapital Universe: Muhammad Yunus, https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Muhammad+Yunus
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Grameen Bank, https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Grameen+Bank
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Grameenphone, https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Grameenphone
Browse the MicroCapital Universe and add your entry to the wiki at: https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/
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