May 19, 2010 | 1:29 PM
“If it can be done in New York, it can be done everywhere"
- Muhammad Yunus
Monday morning marked a very exciting milestone in the short history of Grameen America. It was the Grand Opening of Grameen America’s Manhattan branch, which joins the Queens and Brooklyn offices as the third New York Branch to open in as many years.
Hosted inside the City College of New York’s Great Hall, the event featured a mini borrowers market, a song performed by children of the borrowers, and an uplifting speech by Grameen Bank’s founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus.
Over fifty borrowers attended the event and participated in the mini borrowers market where they showcased the products they invested in with their loans. Professor Yunus was clearly overjoyed to see that the lending formula, which had worked so well in Bangladesh, was having similar success in America.
While Professor Yunus has spent a great deal of time in the spotlight championing microfinance, he used this opportunity to turn the focus back on the borrowers. He spoke directly to them through the aid of a Spanish translator, "Even though you might seem normal people, you are not. You are leaders. You are very special borrowers. You are the first and after you millions will follow." He also thanked the staff of Grameen America who worked tirelessly to continue the expansion of lending operations in New York. It was an inspirational speech and a day that the borrowers and Grameen America will surely not forget.
Below are several links to local news coverage of the event. Be sure to check out the New York 1 article for an excellent video of the event.
“Micro-Loan Bank Aids Manhattan’s Small Business Owners”, New York 1
“Bank for the Poor Hopes to Teach Wall St a Lesson”, ABC News
“Grameen Founder Calls Microfinance an Alternative to Payday Loans”, American Banker
"Bank for the Poor' Opens in New York City", Tonic