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Small loans big in Bangladesh, Bay Area
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)

San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper), February 4, 2013
Posted: February 19th, 2013

After five years running her party-supply store out of her Hayward house with the help of her extended family, [Sandra] Rodriguez was finally moving into her own commercial space thanks to a $1,500 loan from Grameen America. Drawing on the same philosophy as Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, which pioneered "microlending" small sums to help impoverished women run their own businesses, Grameen America opened a branch in Oakland last spring. Grameen started its U.S. presence in New York in 2008, and now has offices in Omaha, Neb., Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., and Los Angeles, as well as Oakland and New York. Grameen's small walk-up office ... has already made microloans to 600 women for such businesses as operating food carts, making baked goods or other food, cleaning houses, selling merchandise, and renting chairs in hair or nail salons. So far, it has a 100 percent repayment record. While Grameen's loans are small - starting around $1,500 in the U.S. - the impact is big. Studies affirm the effectiveness of microloans in helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Grameen Bank and its founder, economics professor Muhammad Yunus, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Its model has been replicated for millions of people in more than 100 countries. Grameen also helps its members with financial education and requires them to set up a savings account at a commercial bank.

Note: For other excellent articles of the transformative practices of microlending, click here.

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