Banker to the Poor

September 25, 2008

Just finished reading “Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus.


It’s not just the idea, but the execution – and every nuance of it that makes Grameen Bank what it is. Yunus talks of how the bank trains its people – how the manager gets to a village for the first time not even knowing where he is going to stay – and how he builds the business (very, very slowly) – getting to know the village and people intimately.

It’s humbling. After all he has done something concrete, when we are still building theoretical business models.

Hats off to Yunus and the organization he built.


Having said that, as an Indian, I was upset.

Yunus talks of the Bangladesh War of Liberation over two chapters – and ignores the role India played. As someone who lived through the war – (ok, I was a kid, but I was there when Mrs. Gandhi and Sheikh Mujib addressed a huge crowd in Delhi after the Bangladesh Liberation), it’s quite off-putting.

Again – he talks of the Grameen model and its implementation across the world – and not one word of microfinance in India.

Not On  – Mr. Yunus.