Grameen America (New York) has issued microloans to 1,000 low-income borrowers in the United States, according to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and Grameen America, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony August 12.
"Grameen America has reached 1,000 borrowers and is expanding its microcredit program to other communities in the United States," Yunus said in a presentation 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."
Grameen America is a nonprofit microfinance organization whose mission is to create a future free of poverty through financial solutions that empower people. Founded in 2008, it provides loans, savings programs, credit establishment, and financial education to the working poor in the U.S. Grameen America has lent more than $2.3 million dollars to women at or below the poverty line. Each Grameen America loan allows a low-income entrepreneur to start or expand a small business. The company offers people small, low-interest, collateral-free loans. According to the organization, borrowers have maintained a high repayment rate and accumulated more than $165,000 in savings accounts in their names. Many borrowers lacked savings accounts and ATM cards before joining Grameen America.
Grameen America now is expanding nationally to serve new communities. In New York, the organization recently began lending in Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. The new branch in Nebraska has disbursed more than $90,000 to 65 borrowers.
According to a statement by President Barack Obama, Yunus and the other 2009 Medal of Freedom recipients were chosen for their work as "agents of change." Obama said, "Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way."