Grameen Bank (GB) was started as an experimental project in 1976 by Prof. M. Yunus in the village of Jobra. The project was financed by a commercial bank, and was personally guaranteed by Prof. Yunus. In 1983, GB was established as a specialized financial institution under the Grameen Bank Ordinance. The Grameen Bank is not subjected to the Banking Companies Ordinance or to any other law related to financial institutions in Bangladesh nor is it subject to interest rate ceilings. It has been partially insulated from other government policies. Today, the GB is 92 percent owned by its members, the remaining is owned by the government.
Its main goal has always ben to improve the conditions of the rural poor by providing them with access to credit, savings facilities, and some nonfinancial social programmes. Since its focus is on the lowest social strata, the income level of its clientele is lower than that of BAAC and BRI-UD. Because of the low incomes and lack of access to traditional collateral, lending is done exclusively through joint liability groups, tied to compulsory savings. GB has achieved phenomenal success with this approach, that has generated replication in many countries.
More information on Grameen Bank can be found elsewhere on the Informal Credit Homepage