Twenty Years Since We Became a Bank

The year 2003 has been a landmark year for Grameen Bank. One could start feeling the strength of the Grameen Bank II in all directions. In 2003, Grameen Bank completed its 20 years of operation as an independent bank (1983-2003). As of 2003 Grameen extended its service to 3,123,802 members. Both member and non-member growth of deposit was also noticeable. Deposits balance increased from Tk.8,952 million to Tk. 13,307 million. Annual disbursement increased from Tk.15,869 million to Tk. 21,467 million. Number of telephone ladies increased from 21,409 to 43,041 by 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 the company, while their number is only 4 per cent of the total number of the telephone subscribers of the company. Some 1,900 students from Grameen families got higher education loans. Computerisation of accounting and MIS reached its last leg. Out of 1,195 branches 1,069 branches have been brought under computerisation.

Resource Mobilization

Grameen Bank has reached a stage where it can finance all its loans from its own fund and funds received from the depositors. Over 75 per cent of these deposits come from the bank’s borrowers. GB created different types of saving product with attractive interest on deposit. For this reason GB members get encouragement for savings. This encouragement helps the borrower to save in GB otherwise she would not seen this money in one lump. It would have disappeared in chasing the endless daily demands. 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 (59% of the branches) are now working towards the goal of being self-reliant themselves. They are making very good progress.

Policy for opening New Branches

Grameen Bank launches its new policy for establishing new branches with no outside 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. They’ll also have to reach break-even point within 3to 6 months of operation. If it succeeds it will become another landmark in microcredit operation. 17 branches have been opened during 2003. Impact of the policy will be noticed in the following years.
Beggars As Members

Most exciting initiative in 2003 was the introduction of Struggling Members (Beggars) programme. Begging is the last resort for survival for a poor person, unless he/she turns into crime or other forms of illegal activities. During the second half of 2003 Grameen Bank introduced this programme to reach out to the poor exclusively. Beggars are given loans to start micro-business 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 paying any cost. The Beggars responded very well. At the end of 2003 nearly 1500 beggars joined the programme. Among these beggars, there are disabled, blind, handicapped people, as well as old people with ill health. We are expecting to extend this service to some 25000 beggars within 2004.

Star for Achievements

Creating “Five Star Branches” has been the most exciting challenge among the staffs. All the 12,000 staffs are committed to make all of the Grameen Bank branches five star branches soon, making all Grameen Bank borrowers poverty-free families with 100% literate children. At the end of 2003, 908 branches, out of the total 1,195 branches, received green stars for maintaining 100 per cent repayment record. 686 branches received blue stars for earning profit. 417 branches earns violet stars 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. 256 branches have applied for brown stars for ensuring education for 100% of the children of Grameen families and 54 branches have applied for red stars indicating branches those have succeeded in taking all their borrowers’ families over the poverty line.
As we reaffirm our commitment to play a strategic role in bringing poverty-free world closer, we are happy to present the detailed information on working of Grameen Bank during 2003.


Muhammad Yunus
Managing Director
Grameen Bank
Email : [email protected]

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