Carrier with Grameen America, USA
In 2008, I was selected for an overseas job with Grameen. However, after I won the DV lottery I brought my whole family to Florida in 2009 to start my career as a Finance Manager with Dinhaz Group.
Grameen Trust & Grameen America offered me a job with Grameen America in 2010. For me, this was a great opportunity to implement the Grameen Philosophy in the richest country in the world. I joined Grameen America as Branch Manager of the first Grameen America branch, located at 74th street Jackson Heights, Queens, in January 2010. At the time, the branch had 1200 members and a $1.41MM portfolio. Jackson Heights Branch was disorganized in all respects at that time. With my leadership, hard work & team management this branch began to move in a positive direction starting then. I disbursed $35MM total in this branch during my tenure there, from January 10, 2010 to November 23, 2012, with a 100% recovery rate. During this time we reached 4,140 Members, 3,245 active borrowers, and a healthy portfolio of over $4MM. Jackson Heights Branch is now the most profitable branch of Grameen America.
In 2012 I was given the honor of being selected to open a new branch in Charlotte, North Carolina. Having recently moved from New York, I inaugurated the branch by issuing the first loan to four new Grameen America members for a total of $4,000 on December 28, 2012. Political leaders, social workers, friends of Grameen America, and prominent local personalities attended the loan disbursement ceremony, which was covered by Channel 9, a local television station, and published in the local newspapers. I remained Branch Manager until December, 2014. During my tenure as Branch Manager in Charlotte, my team organized 2,300 members in 128 centers, issued loan disbursements worth $8MM, and maintained an outstanding loan portfolio of over $2MM with no delinquency and a 100% repayment rate. Charlotte Branch was the fastest and most sustainably growing branch in Grameen America.
Due to my dedication and distinguished work both in Jackson Heights and in Charlotte, Grameen America management promoted me to Regional Director of the Central and Southeast region, which contained five branches: Omaha, North Omaha, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and San Juan. My office remained in Charlotte, and I supervised the other branches from there. At the time I took up my responsibilities as a Regional Director, there were 8230 total Members in the region, 1646 Groups, and 531 Centers, and the loan portfolio of the region was over $6MM, with cumulative loan disbursements of over $40MM, all managed by a staff of 38. Except for Charlotte, which had excellent credit discipline, the rest of the region was very weak. With my leadership, close monitoring, Grameen technique, and emphasis on the involvement of all coworkers in the success of the program, the level of discipline in the region began to change slowly starting in 2015, and finally achieved success in 2016. Total loan disbursements in the region in 2015-16 were over $70.4MM, the loan portfolio increased from over $6.6MM to nearly $12MM. On a cumulative basis, loan disbursements in the region jumped to over $110MM. In 2016, over $40MM in loans has been disbursed in the region, and as a result of the establishment of strong credit discipline in the region, we achieved a nearly 100% recovery rate on loans issued in 2016, which is a major success for the region as well as for Grameen America.
To continue lending, Grameen America needs huge amounts of capital to provide loans to its Members. During my time in Charlotte, I communicated regularly with the fundraising team to support them in raising funds from donors and lenders for the region.
The Grameen philosophy originated in the South Asian Country Bangladesh in 1976. It was pioneered by Nobel Laureate Prof. Yunus as a pilot project, and after a lot of experimentation and challenges, it was recognized by the government of Bangladesh in October 1983 as a bank for poor rural women of Bangladesh. It was the first time in history that a bank was recognized for its work poor families, not only in Bangladesh but also elsewhere in the world. After the tremendous success and poverty alleviation it oversaw in Bangladesh, Grameen Bank and Prof. Yunus were jointly awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2006. The Grameen philosophy has begun to spread to other countries, starting in 1990. In 2008, the Grameen philosophy arrived at the doorstep of the richest country in the world, to alleviate poverty here in the United States. It took the name Grameen America, Inc., in honor of the Grameen Bank. Though Grameen Bank in Bangladesh & Grameen America Inc. in the US are separate organizations, their philosophy is the same. Grameen America’s main target here in the US is poverty elimination through entrepreneurship among poor women. Grameen America supports low-income families who are living below the poverty line. The essential working methodology of Grameen Bank and Grameen America are the same.