Muhammad Yunus' Grameen Bank, known for its microfinance lending schemes in Bangladesh, has recently entered the US market, perhaps good timing considering the recent mortgage meltdown and general distrust of mainstream banks. What may be surprising to some is the fact that while the US is the world's richest country, it still has 28 million people that have no bank accounts and 44.7 million with only limited access to financial institutions.
Grameen Bank has begun its US operations in New York City, lending $50,000 in the past month to groups of immigrant women in Jackson Heights in New York's borough of Queens. Over the next five years, it plans to offer $176m in loans within New York city, and then expand to the rest of the United States.
Muhammad Yunus told the Financial Times
: "Now is a good time because of ... the subprime crisis and that highlights the issue that the financial system is not perfect."