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  • Foreword Print
    Twenty-one Years Since We Became a Bank
    In 2004, Grameen Bank completed its 21 years of operation as an independent bank (1983-2004). As of 2004 Grameen extended its service to 4,059,632 members. Growth of both member and non-member deposits was also noticeable. Deposit balance increased from Tk. 13,307 million to Tk. 20,718 million. Annualdisbursement increased from Tk. 21,467 million to Tk. 25,873 million. Number of telephone ladies increased from 43,041 to 92,673 offering telecommunication services in nearly half of the villages of Bangladesh where this service never existed before. Telephone ladies use 16 per cent of the total air-time of GrameenPhone, the mobile phone company, while their number is only 4 per cent of the total number of the telephone subscribers of the company. Some5,257 students from Grameen families got highereducation loans. Computerisation of accounting and MIS reached its last leg. Out of 1,358 branches, 1,215 branches have been brought under computerisation.
    Resource Mobilization
    Grameen Bank (GB) has reached a stage where it can finance all its loans from its own fund and funds received from the depositors. Over 66 per cent of hese deposits come from the bank’s borrowers. GB created different types of saving products with attractive interest on deposit. For this reason GB members are attracted to save. While the bank is self-reliant in financing its loan programmes, not all branches are in a position do to so from their own funds. Surplus branches are financing the deficit branches through the intermediation of the zonal offices and the head office. All deficit branches (43% of the branches) are now working towards the goal ofbecoming self-reliant themselves. They are making very good progress.
    Policy for Opening New Branches
    Grameen Bank launched its new policy for establishing new branches with their own money. New branches cannot borrow from the head office of the bank to undertake on-lending activities. New branches will have to carry out their lending programme with the money mobilised through deposit collection or loans from the zonal office. This must be repaid within six months. They’ll also have to reach break-even point within 6 months to a year of operation. If this succeeds it will become another landmark in microcredit operation. During 2004, 163 branches have been opened in this way. Impact of the policy will be noticed in the following years.
    Beggars As Members
    Begging is the last resort for survival for a poor person, unless he/she turns towards crime or other forms of illegal activities. From 2003 Grameen Bank introduced this programme to reach out to the ultimate poorest. Beggars are given loans to start micro-businesses without giving up begging. They may give up begging if their businesses pick-up and bring enough income to make it worthwhile, or even necessary to stop begging. All loans are interest-free. Loans can be very long term, to make repayment instalments very small. Beggar members are covered under life insurance and loan insurance programmes without incurring any cost. The beggars responded very well. A total of 34,077 beggars have already joined the programme in 2004, out of them 31,958 are women. Among these beggars, there are blind and handicapped people, as well as old people with ill health. Total amount disbursed stands at Tk. 17.91 million, out of which Tk. 5.73 million has already been paid off.
    Star for Achievements
    Creating “Five Star Branches” has been the most exciting challenge among the staff. All the 12,000 staff are committed to transform all of the Grameen Bank branches into five star branches soon. This will mean Grameen Bank borrowers will be poverty-free families with 100% literate children. At the end of 2004, 892 branches, out of the total 1,358 branches, received green stars for maintaining 100 per cent repayment record. For earning profit 891 branches received blue stars. Violet starts were earned by 705 branches by meeting all their financing out of their earned profit and deposits. These branches not only carry out their business with their own funds, but also contribute their surpluses to meet the fund requirement of deficit branches. Brown stars were received by 214 branches by ensuring education for 100% of the children of Grameen families and 29 branches received red stars indicating branches those have succeeded in taking alltheir borrowers’ families over the poverty line.

    As we reaffirm our commitment to play a strategic role in ending poverty, we are happy to present the detailed information on working of Grameen Bank during 2004.
    Muhammad Yunus
    Managing Director
    Grameen Bank
Banker to the Poor   Banker to the Poor Banker to the Poor GF USA