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Overcoming Poverty through Credit

The Asian Experience in Replicating the Grameen Bank Approach - 7


07 / 1994

The Grameen Bank Approach(GBA)orginated in Bangladesh and has provided credit amounting to US$ 489 million in loans to one million borrowers. The GBA, replicated as a very effective credit scheme in various parts of the world, has a specific design and scheme of operation.

The GBA runs on support obtained by the government and a group of international and bilateral donors.The government contribution although appearing like a subsidy, is really not considered one. It is considered a payment for benefits to society created by the GB credit programme. The donors subsidize the cost of loanable funds to the GB.

Although largely funded by the government of Bangladesh and donor agencies, the GB operates autonomously without inteference from its sponsors. Its credit programme is run free of any outside influences. This autonomy helps to innovate a variety of ways to carry out its operations and to discard unworkable methods.

The ultimate strength of the GB lies in its own members. A compulsory savings scheme, especially styled to suit the poor clientele the bank attracts, ensures the growth and sustainability of the bank. This is an interesting feature in the GBA and is called the Group Fund. The Group Fund is fed by the loanees themselves. An automatic deduction of 5% is made at the outset on every loan made which is credited into the Group Fund which is also known as the group’s savings account. A further 1 Taka is collected from every member each week at meetings held regularly and added to the Fund.

Through this Fund members can purchase a share of the bank’s stock and the Fund also serves as a form of insurance for emergency cash needs. At present members have purchased shares worth Taka 85 million and the government, shares wortj taka 18 million.

Key words

credit, autonomy

, Bangladesh


The Grameen Bank operates in the style of a Non Governmental Organisation but with the fullest support of the government. To be effective and sustainable a credit delivery system needs a supportive national policy framework in order to remain autonomous and free from political influence, to serve the poor irrespective of political or religious alignment.

The autonomy enjoyed in the operation of its credit scheme is evident in the fact that the GBA has successfully survived the drastic change in the Bangladeshi government.






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