The Grameen Bank now operates through fifteen zonal offices. Beneath the zonal offices are area offices, each supervisiong about ten branch offices.
According 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 center meetings attended by borrowers and bank workers. The branch borrows from the head office whenever it needs funds, at the rate of 12 percent, and on-lends these funds at the rate of 20 percent.
At the end of December 1998, the bank, through its 1,139 branches, was serving 2.36 million members. It had disbursed, be December 1998, Tk. 100,899.80 million (US$ 2,471.36 million) as general loans. Its recovery rate is close to 94 percent. Group members had saved more than Tk. 8,142.72 million (US$ 198.69 million) by December 1998. The bank's operations reached 39,045 villages, out of about 68,000 in the country.
The bank has also introduced housing loans for the poor. A durable shelter is one of the basic requirements for people to be able to organize discipline their actions, and 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 honor that enables 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. 25,000.00 (US$ 500) for constructing a simple tin-roof house. The interest ratre for housing loan is 8 percent. Housing loans are paid back in ten years, in weekly installments, more than 500,000 such houses had been constructed by December 1998, for which a total amount of on Tk. 7,214.60 million (US$ 180.84 million) has been disbursed. The average size of housing loans was only Tk. 13,976 (US$ 350). This experience proves that, given the opportunity, the poor can provide decent housing for themselves.