Can you imagine this? A bank from one of the poorest countries in the world, Bangladesh, is opening branches in USA to lend and provide financial services to US Citizens. What a shame! I quote:
The US presents a ripe market for Grameen, Mr Yunus claims, because it has a large population that sits outside the formal banking system. As many as 28m people, earning $510bn a year, do not have any relationship with a financial institution, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Those who have no bank accounts rely on fringe banking services such as cheque cashers, pawnshops and payday lenders.
Payday lenders can charge as much as 1,560 per cent for a week’s cash ad- vance against forward-dated cheques, according to the Consumer Federation of America. Payday lenders made $48bn (€33bn, £24bn) in loans last year, while pawnshops’ business has been soaring as the US heads into a slowdown.
“You have the payday loans, you have the cheque cashing companies, and they’re flourishing, and they are pretty bold, the big advertisements in the newspapers, big ads on television . . . so this shows how much [of a] gap there is in the system,” Mr Yunus said.
In just over a month Grameen has lent out more than $50,000 to 35 women, including Bangladeshis, Dominicans, Haitians and Columbians, without bank accounts. The loans have gone towards building clothing, hairdressing and manicure businesses. Loans start at $1,500 dollars and rise to $6,000 as borrowers display their ability to repay, all at about 16 per cent interest.
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!