Grameen Bank, The Pioneer.
Grameen Bank can easily be called one of the pioneers of the Microfinance trend. It started with the bank’s founder, Dr Muhammad Yunus making a small loan of $27 to 42 families to help them earn an income after the 1974 famine in Bangladesh. Yunus, together with the Rural Economic Project at University of Chittagong started testing if this method of lending to the poor could eventually help in eradicating poverty. In 1976, villages near the university were eligible for service from the Grameen Bank and with help from the Central Bangalesh Bank, by 1979, these services were introduced to the Tangail district before becoming and entirely independent bank in 1983. It has inspired similar microfinance models in 40 other countries. The highest honour came in 2006 when the founder and the bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” Another step was the Grameen Foundation, that claims to replicate the the Grameen Bank models round the world.