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Case Study: The Grameen Bank Lecture # 13 Week 7.

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1 Case Study: The Grameen Bank Lecture # 13 Week 7

2 Structure of this class Muhammad Yunus and the founding of Bangladeshs Grameen Bank The group lending methodology re-visited Limits to Group Lending Grameen Bank II Main challenges

3 Yunus and the Grameen Bank 1970s: War against Pakistan, flooding, famine 80% of the population living in poverty Yunus: Economist trained in the US teaching at Chittagong University ( southeast Bangladesh) 1976: Yunus started a series of experiments lending to poor households in nearby Jobra Activities financed: rice husking, bamboo weaving Finding: poor borrowers without collateral making profits and repaying

4 Financing out of his own pocket could not meet growing demand Yunus convinced the Bangladesh Central Bank to help him set up a special branch that catered the poor of Jobra Another trial in Tangail (North Central Bangladesh) assured success was not region-specific Grameen went nationwide, village by village, thanks to donor agencies: IFAD, Ford Foundation, and the governments of Bangladesh, Norway, and the Netherlands

5 -- Rapid growth

6 Group lending methodology Key to the success of rapid growth Group of potential clients form groups (5 members) Loans made to individual participants within the group Joint responsibility: if a member defaults all members have to pay for her or else the entire group excluded from future loans Group lending under joint responsibility gives costumers incentives to select responsible partners, to (peer) monitor, and repay A five-member group is in turn part of a larger center composed of eight groups

7 Under the the Grameen classic methodology Advantages: Economies of scale Agency Costs were reduced as the bank delegated screening, monitoring, and loan enforcement onto the borrowers via social sanctions Efficiency gains: borrowers faced lower agency costs Promotion of mutual assistance and solidarity (insurance)

8 Disadvantages Group lending under joint responsibility difficult to replicate in sparsely populated areas Social sanctions difficult to impose on close relatives Scarcity of much needed group leaders Attending frequent repayment meetings time – consuming and costly for the borrowers Risk aversion Scope for collusion undermines the banks ability to harness social collateral Too harsh on borrowers as member were experiencing negative idiosyncratic shocks

9 Grameen II Foods in the 1990s prompted Grameen to lend for rehabilitation Amounts lent exceeded capacity to repay Widespread defaults and demands for withdrawals from group fund Rules were too strict, and failure to repay by one member triggered group and entire center defaults The system was redesigned under the name Grameen Generalized System or GGS and was launched in 2001

10 Main features Sharp reduction in number of financial products (family loans, seasonal loans…) No more compulsory fund Relaxation of fixed-size weekly installments Flexible loan cycles Not repaying in full did not equal default anymore Recognition that borrowers were heterogeneous and subject to idiosyncratic shocks Faith on the fact that the poor will eventually repay, some over a longer period of time, some over a shorter period of time

11 Basic loan accessible to all This can however be renegotiated (rescheduled), flexibility Full repayment of basic loan enable borrowers to access (1) housing loans, and (2) higher educational loans Two-speed system: high and low Disincentive for borrowers to go from high to low because she starts creating a credit history from scratch Custom-made Credit service Group loan replaced Pension fund

12 Savings Loan insurance Growing credit ceilings Destitute members program Computerization of Grameen accounting and monitoring systems

13 Main challenges Excessive reliance on a charismatic leader Governance: Pyramidal structure even though a coop on paper Capacity to cope with aggregate shocks And last but not least: Social Business - Next class: The Case of Financiera Compartamos (consult the web site for required readings) Have a nice weekend -


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