Grameen America reaches 1,000 borrowers: Yunus
Microfinance Focus, Aug. 12, 2009:  Grameen America has issued microloans to 1,000 low-income borrowers in the United States, Professor Muhammad Yunus said at a press conference in Washington on Wednesday. Yunus' announcement came following Grameen America's recent launch in Omaha, Nebraska, and as Yunus, pioneer of microfinance movement, prepared to receive the US Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony this afternoon. "Grameen America has reached 1,000 borrowers and is expanding its microcredit program to other communities in the United States," Yunus said at Washington's National Press Club. "Good results in New York and now in Omaha are showing that microcredit is an effective way to fight poverty and provide opportunity to poor people - whether in Bangladesh or in the United States." Since January 2008, Grameen America has lent more than $2.3 million to women at or below the poverty line. Each Grameen America loan allows a low-income entrepreneur in the United States to start or expand a small business. The company provides people with small, low-interest, collateral-free loans. With the support of their group of five and weekly meetings, borrowers have maintained a high repayment rate and accumulated more than $165,000 in savings accounts in their names. Many borrowers were underserved by commercial banks and lacked savings accounts and ATM cards before joining Grameen America, a statement by the company said. Based on strong demand for its microcredit services, Grameen America recently began lending in Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. The new branch in Nebraska has disbursed more than $90,000 to 65 borrowers. It plans to open branches in California, North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Massachusetts.

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