Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable. Professor Muhammad, the founder of "Grameen Bank" and its Managing Director, reasoned that if financial resources can be made available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, "these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.
Currently, GB is the largest rural finance institution in the country. It has more than 2.3 million borrowers, 94 percent of whom are women. With 1,128 branches, GB provides services in 38,951 villages, covering more than half of the total villages in Bangladesh. The repayment of its loan, which average US $ 160, is over 95%.
Grameen Bank's positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Grameen Bank has inspired people and institutions throughout the world with its success in poverty alleviation. More than 4,000 people from some 100 countries have gone through Grameen's training / exposure programs over the last ten years. Some of those visitors have returned to their countries and replicated the Grameen Bank financial system to help the poor people in their own country to overcome poverty. A total of 223 Grameen replication programs in 58 countries have been established during the last decade. Taken together, they have reached several hundred thousand poor borrowers with credit around the world. ?