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One step Forward for Microfinance

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has exempted all NGOs, Trusts and non-profit companies, engaged in microfinance, from its regulations. Although RBI has not, in fact, been regulating NGOs or Trusts, this announcement removes the gray area where any organization doing microfinance technically falls under RBI rules. It is also likely to encourage existing NGOs to convert themselves into nonprofit companies, called section 25 companies in India, which have more leverage with wholesaling banks and donors and now have freedom to operate as well. "This is a beginning -- RBI has recognized microfinance at last!", commented V. Nagarajan, a chartered accountant who has worked extensively with MFIs in India. "But microfinance also means helping the poor to save. This is defined as deposit taking and is still barred, even for section 25 companies."

The RBI announcement still leaves out in the cold all commercial MFIs, registered as for-profit companies. They face major obstacles to doing microfinance with the poor, including high capital reserve requirements, restrictions on foreign equity and loans, and standards for deposit taking which are too rigid for MFIs to meet.

Source: Credit For the Poor #26, February, 2000

Bulletin Board

One step Forward for Microfinance

Grameen Foundation Australia

GF-USA Urban Poverty index

Overseas Bangladeshis Open GB Account

Dialogue Promotes "Struggle for Self Reliance"

Queen Sofia Visits Grameen

CASHPOR Publications

GB disburses more than US$ 3 Billion

MOU Signed between GT and Government of Spain

Grameen Trust Programs

Grameen Foundation Australia

Please note that Grameen Bank Support Group Australia is now incorporated as the Grameen Foundation Australia, and the GBSG/A does not exist any more. For more information: E-mail:"Grameen Foundation"

GF-USA Urban Poverty Index

GF-USA staff members Geoff Davis and Kaylin Bailey developed an urban poverty index that is based on poverty targeting methodologies of Grameen Bank and its replication programs in Asia. The means test is geared to urban Latin American environment and was created after surveying three groups: existing Latin American micro-credit programs, the largest micro-credit programs operating in Mexico and 450 low-income households. Grameen Foundation USA staff also met with poverty experts at several leading universities in Mexico, spoke with the heads of micro-credit programs working in Mexico City and analyzed government and private sector poverty data.

For more information, contact Mike Getubig at Grameen Foundation USA. Phone: 202-628-3632, Email: .

Overseas Bangladeshis

Open GB Account


We are a group of people, whose hearts are full off compassion and good-will for Bangladesh. After a critical assessment of Grameen’s activities, we realized that a golden opportunity has arrived for all of us to take part in Grameen’s efforts towards making Bangladesh a country free from poverty. This was a dream for generations of Bangladeshis, but they always felt it would not be fulfilled! Now, you can be a part of the Grameeen Support Group, if you share our vision and want to act on it.

What can we do? We have arranged with Grameen to ‘open a taka current account in Shovapur Savar Branch of Grameen Bank for Bangladeshis living abroad’. You can open an interest free current account with an initial minimum US$ 150 deposit. There is no maximum limit to deposits. If you don’t withdraw the money within a year, Grameen will loan this amount to one of its members and by doing this you will have brought five people out of poverty. This is not a donation! It is your money, which you have kept in Grameen Bank for a period according to your wish. You can withdraw this money any time you want in taka only. But it will serve the intended purpose, if you leave it at least for a year. What you are sacrificing is at the most the interest on a paltry sum. Is this too much to expect from us, the fortunate few from this poor country? But certainly your sincere consideration will promote an unprecedented outcome -- the poverty free Bangladesh.

We have ‘Account opening Form’ to be filled in by the prospective account holders. An ANZ Bank T.T. to be made against Grameen Bank Current A/c. NO. 1711560 with ANZ Grindlays Bank, Dilkhusha C/A, Dhaka -1000, Bangladesh.

The Account opening Form can be found at: http://www.grambangla.com/js/gram_acc.html .

Grameen Support Group website: http://www.grambangla.com

For further information contact:

Nazrul Islam:

I Hourglass Glen, St. Clair, Sydney. NSW 2759.

Ph & Fax: 0296702745, 0413 543549



Mujtaba Fidaul Haq:

1/75 Anzac Avenue, West Ryde, NSW 2114.

Ph: 9808 5112, 0414 910827


Dialogue Promotes "Struggle for Self Reliance"

An Exposure Dialogue Program took place at Grameen Bank from January 22 to February 2, 2000. The program brought together 17 German participants from diverse professional backgrounds including academics, bankers students, CEOs of companies, lawyers. The objective of the program was to enable the participants to try to understand the lives of poor women in Bangladesh - from the point of view of the poor women themselves. The program was jointly organized by Association for the Promotion of North-South Dialogue, Germany, Grameen Bank and Grameen Trust. The idea of this novel Dialogue was initiated by Dr. Karl Osner, who also coordinated the program.

Among the participants at the Exposure Dialogue Program was Mr Erwin Teufel, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Baden W�rttemberg, who was accompanied to Bangladesh by his daughter, Judith. The Minister spent five days in Shaharail Singair village where he visited the homes of the poor women who had taken loans from Grameen Bank to start small businesses. Mr Teufel spent many hours talking to two women members in particular, Modina Begum and Nurjahan Begum, to understand their struggles and to see how Grameen Bank had transformed their lives. Among others, the guests visited the adult education program of Grameen Shikkha (Grameen Education, a not for profit company) and met a telephone lady who had leased a mobile phone from Grameen. Mr Teufel walked through the village roads and paddy fields, visited local markets and schools. He also took part in a cultural program at the village. Grameen staff and the villagers were delighted with their distinguished guest who lived in the village as one of them for five days.

In each village that the EDP participants visited, the poor women were the hosts, inviting participants into their homes and their lives. Each participant wrote lifestories of the women they met, and participated in their daily-life activities. This approach of building a relationship with the poor across cultural, social and economic barriers, was especially designed by North-South Dialogue, Germany which advocates for the support of self-help programs.

Queen Sofia Visits Grameen

Her Majesty the Queen of Spain visited Grameen Bank on February 8-9, 2000. She was accompanied by the Secretary of State for International Cooperation Mr Ferdinand Villalonga. The delegation also included a press corps from Spanish newspapers, television and radio. The Queen and the Secretary of State visited a village in Gazipur to meet with Grameen members and see first-hand their loan activities. The delegation met a Grameen Bank member who has leased a cell phone and sells telephone services in the village. The Queen used the telephone and called up the King in Madrid.

On the second day of the program with Grameen, the Queen and the Secretary of State attended a meeting at the Grameen Bank head office where the programs of the sister organizations of Grameen were introduced to the guests. There were presentations on Grameen Bank and Grameen Trust following which Professor Yunus on behalf of Grameen Trust and Mr Villalonga on behalf of the Spanish government signed a memorandum of understanding pledging support by the Spanish government to the work of Grameen Trust. The Queen and her entourage then visited special stalls set up by the Grameen companies.

This was the second visit to Grameen by the Queen of Spain, who is an active spokesperson for microcredit as a tool for poverty alleviation

CASHPOR Publications

CASHPOR Operational Manual: Tracking Operational and Financial Performance, by Jennifer Meehan & David Gibbons, June, 1999. This Manual introduces new tools to monitor and analyze operations in the field, with a strong emphasis on tracking and evaluating financial performance. It incorporates the advanced financial management tools developed by SEEP and CGAP and adapt them to the needs of Grameen Banking. It develops special reporting formats to make the calculation of financial ratios easier. Includes a disk with the reporting formats.

CASHPOR-SEF Operational Manual: Cost-Effective Targeting: Two Tools to Identify the Poor, by David Gibbons & Anton Simanowitz with Ben Nkuna, June, 1999. This describes two clearly established methods to identify the poor, accurately and inexpensively i.e. Participatory Wealth Ranking, as developed by the Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) of South Africa: and the CASHPOR’s House Index and Proxy Asset Test refined through workshops in many countries in Asia. This joint manual teaches how to implement these proven methodologies for reaching the poor and the poorest. It shows that it is necessary to specifically target the poorest-and that this can be done accurately, efficiently and with minimal cost in terms of staff time.

To order these publications, write to CASHPOR Technical Services, 6 Lorong Permata, 4/1 Tmn Permata (Lobak) 702000 Seremban, N.S. Malaysia.

Fax: 606-7642307;
E-mail: .

In US/Canada write to Rae Madson, 710 Glorietta Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118; Tel/Fax: 619-435-5857.

GB disburses more than US$ 3 Billion

Grameen Bank which began its journey from the small village of Jobra in Chittagong district in 1976, crossed another milestone this February. The cumulative disbursements of the bank, which now operates in more than thirty nine thousand villages of Bangladesh, crossed the 3 billion dollar mark.

MOU Signed between GT and Government of Spain

Grameen Trust and the Government of Spain signed a memorandum of understanding on February 9, to collaborate on the implementation of microcredit programs for the poor. Mr Ferdinand Villalonga on behalf of the Secretariat of State for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain and Professor Muhammad, on behalf of Grameen Trust, signed the MOU in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Sophia of Spain during her recent visit to Grameen Bank.