The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Grameen bank resists pressure to fire Muhammad Yunus

Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize winning microfinance pioneer formed part of the genesis and confluence of ideas that promoted North American and European P2P Lending.  Yunus, a Nobel prize winner wrote the renowned “Banker to the Poor” that adorns the bookshelfs of most in the P2P business.

So it was with some consternation and perplexity that I read this headline.

Grameen defies order to dismiss Yunus

The bank founded by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize winning microfinance pioneer, has defied an order by Bangladesh’s financial regulator to remove him from office.  Setting the stage for a battle for control of the lender, Grameen Bank said Mr Yunus, 70, remained at the helm after Bangladesh Bank, the central bank that regulates the financial sector, said he had been “relieved of his responsibilities as managing director”.

It turns out there is some dispute between the Bangladeshi government and Grameen.

The roots of the antipathy between the two date back to the aftermath of a 2007 military coup, when Mr Yunus, basking in the glory of his 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, expressed contempt for politicians and proposed setting up his own political party to clean up his native country’s notoriously corrupt public life.

So even though he has stayed true to his vision and has something like 8 million customers that he has helped many severely poor people in Bangladesh, clearly he has not been greasing the right palms.  This could become a big story as time goes by.  The Bangladesh government is following the same kind of approach that we expect from Russia when they conjure up contexts to get rid of people.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 2, 2011 at 22:38

Posted in Uncategorized

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