Grameen Bank now operates through fifteen zonal
offices. Beneath the zonal offices are area offices,
each supervising about ten branch offices.
to the principles of the Grameen Bank, the bank
should go to the people rather than the people
coming to the bank. All banking transactions are
done at centre meetings attended by borrowers
and bank workers. The branch borrows from the
head office whenever it needs funds, at the rate
of 4 percent for housing loans (on-lending at
the rate of 8 percent) and at the rate of 12 percent
for income-generating loans (on-lending at the
rate of 20 percent).
the end of December 1999, the bank, through its
1,149 branches, was serving 2.35 million members.
It has disbursed, by December 1999, Tk. 124034.96
million (US$ 2978.20 million) as general loans.
Its recovery rate is close to 91 percent. Group
members had saved more than Tk. 9675.76 million
(US$ 230.05 million) by December 1999. The bank's
operation reached 39,706 villages, out of about
68,000 in the country.
bank has also introduced housing loans for the
poor. A durable shelter is one of the basic requirements
for people to be able to organise and discipline
their actions, and at the same time undertake
plans and programs for creative pursuits. People
without a home tend to be uncertain, worried,
and unstable, which affects their every action.
The ownership of a house infuses people with a
sense of confidence and honour that enables them
to start dreaming of a better life. Furthermore,
homestead is also often the workplace for the
rural poor. A bank member can borrow up to Tk.
25000 (US$ 500) for constructing a simple tin-roof
house. The interest rate for housing loan is 8
percent. Housing loans are paid back in ten years,
in weekly instalments. More than 510000 such houses
had been constructed by December 1999, for which
a total amount of Tk. 7467.31 million (US$ 185.42
million) has been disbursed. The average size
of housing loans was only Tk. 14537 (US$ 350 approx.).
This experience proves that, given the opportunity,
the poor can provide decent housing for themselves.