The year 2009 marks the 26th year of Grameen Bank. The year also saw the Bank continuing its thrust to open new windows of opportunities for the nation’s poor by extending its outreach by opening 23 new branches and embracing over 300,413 new members across the country. It brings the total number of branches to 2,562 covering over 99% of the country’s nearly 84,000 villages located in all 64 districts of Bangladesh. The fresh batch of women who joined the Grameen family in 2009, swelled the aggregate number of members to a total of 7.97 million.
By the end of the year 2009, cumulative disbursement of the Bank reached BDT 498.31 billion equivalent to USD 8.74 billion. The cumulative amount of savings deposited with the Bank by its borrowers also reached a new high of about BDT 44.82 billion by the year end.
The Bank’s transformation into this size signifies a giant leap forward compared to 1976 when we took the first small step in a village named Jobra to free the poor from the loan sharks.
These past 26 years have not been all too a smooth ride for the Bank. We encountered new challenges and tremendous odds and weathered natural calamities—flood, tidal waves, draughts, worldwide recessions, apart from the dilemmas and inertia that tends to set in when an organization grow at a fast pace. We draw immense satisfaction that the Bank succeeded in overcoming these odds through innovations, hard work, strong commitment and faith in the ideological base from which the Bank draws its strength.
We offer loans to the poor for building low cost houses, educate their children and interest free loans to beggars to pursue small scale income generating activity.
GB loans totaling BDT 8.89 billion enabled 679,577 borrowers to build low cost houses and Its education loans totaling BDT 1506.65 million (USD 22.27 million) allowed 40,804 meritorious students from poor households, who would have most probably dropped out of school to complete or in the process of completing degrees in engineering, medicine, agriculture and other higher education programmes at the graduate and post-graduate levels at zero interest during education period and 5% after completion of education period. In addition, by the end of the year an aggregate number of 118,887 students were offered scholarships totaling BDT 175.69 million (USD 2.54 million). Loans amounting to BDT 142.43 million were provided to the beggars, the most vulnerable groups in the social structure. Their repayment records are nearly as goods as their regular mainstream peers. By the end of 2009 they had repaid BDT 108.53 million.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the staff of the Bank for their unwavering commitment to serve the poor. I would also like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the Bank’s 7.97 million borrowers-shareholders who made this bank into what it is today.
We are very grateful to all our well-wishers and friends all over the world for their constant inspiration and encouragement.