Carrier with Grameen Bank, Bangladesh

After completing my Master Degree in December 1984, I applied to Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in March 1985, and was hired as a probationary officer on May 8, 1985. Then I started my six month Grameen Philosophy basic training in Tangail Zone, near Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh. After completing Grameen Philosophy training, I was assigned the position of Branch Manager in December ‘1985, to open a new branch in Korotia, near Tangail. I started in May 1986 and worked there until May 1988, organizing 400 groups, 2000 members, 60 centers to whom I disbursed a total of 6,000,000 taka ($769,000). This branch is still a model branch of Grameen Bank. After that, I became branch Manager of the very oldest branch of Grameen bank, from June 1988 to December 1989. This was a very problematic branch, and it took a full year and a half to get it back on track.

Then, I was transferred to the Head Office of Grameen Bank, in the administration department, from January 1990 until 1994. My primary responsibilities there were administrative work such as posting, transfers, drafting policy for GB field operations. At that time I reported to the Department Chief & Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Nobel Laureate Prof. Mohammad Yunus.

I was promoted to Principal Officer in 1994 & transferred to Rangpur Zone as a Program Officer, a post I held from 1995 to 1998, before being transferred to Dinajpur zone as Program Officer in Thakurgaon Area in January 1999. In 2001, I took over as Area Manager (Regional Director), a post I held until 2006, with 12 branches under my supervision. The total number of members in this Area was 42,000. I was promoted as a Senior Principal Officer in 2003, during my time as Area Manager. Thakurgaon Area was a difficult area for Grameen Bank, but through my leadership we moved this Area in a positive direction over the 6 years I was there. After this success there, I was transferred to the Zonal Audit office in Pabna, where I worked from 2006 to 2008. My main responsibility at the Audit office was to build bridges between the Audit teams & the Zonal office of Grameen Bank, which consist of more than 50 branches, and which gives direction to Audit Teams to detect irregularities, correct unfair branch practices, & smooth the path for the expansion of the Grameen Bank. My responsibilities also included monitoring disputed issues to verify that the Audit team was properly reporting and solving branch-level problems.

Grameen Bank in Bangladesh

The origin of Grameen Bank can be traced back to 1976 when Professor Muhammad Yunus, Head of the Rural Economics Program at the University of Chittagong, launched an action research project to examine the possibility of designing a credit delivery system to provide banking services targeted at the rural poor. The Grameen Bank Project (Grameen means “rural” or “village” in Bangla language) came into operation with the following objectives:

  • extend banking facilities to poor men and women;
  • eliminate the exploitation of the poor by money lenders;
  • create opportunities for self-employment for the vast multitude of unemployed people in rural Bangladesh;
  • bring the disadvantaged, mostly the women from the poorest households, within the fold of an organizational format which they can understand and manage by themselves; and
  • reverse the age-old vicious circle of “low income, low saving & low investment”, into virtuous circle of “low income, injection of credit, investment, more income, more savings, more investment, more income”.

The action research demonstrated its strength in Jobra (a village adjacent to Chittagong University) and some of the neighboring villages during 1976-1979. With the sponsorship of the central bank of the country and support of the nationalized commercial banks, the project was extended to Tangail district (a district north of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh) in 1979. With the success in Tangail, the project was extended to several other districts in the country. In October 1983, the Grameen Bank Project was transformed into an independent bank by government legislation. Today Grameen Bank is owned by the rural poor whom it serves. Borrowers of the Bank own 90% of its shares, while the remaining 10% is owned by the government.

Currently Grameen Bank of Bangladesh has 90MM members with 13,000TK Crore loan portfolio & loan recovery rate is more than 98% as always. Grameen Bank has different loan program like Basic loan, Housing loan, Leasing loan, Education loan etc. There is lot of social impact in BD society due to GB program. Good numbers of Grameen Bank members now own their own business & now they crossed poverty line.