What We do
Grameen America is a nonprofit microfinance organization based in New York
Communities Served: Grameen America currently operates in New York City and Omaha, Nebraska.
Mission: Grameen America is dedicated to alleviating poverty and encouraging entrepreneurship in the US.
Products and Services: Grameen America provides low-cost loans, savings programs, credit establishment, and
financial education to people living below the poverty line.
Group-Lending Model: Borrowers must form a group of five peers and attend weekly meetings.
Loans for Entrepreneurship: All Grameen America microloans support income-generating activities.
Asset-Building: Borrowers are required to make a savings deposit each week.
Financial Education: Borrowers receive ongoing training in financial literacy and money management.
Grameen America was founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus,
considered by many the “father of microcredit.”
For his work fighting poverty from the ground up in Bangladesh,
Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded won the 2006
Nobel Peace Prize.
Grameen America represents Yunus‟ current mission: to bring
Grameen microcredit to the US, where the need for basic
community banking for low-income families.
On August 12, 2009 Yunus was awarded the 2009 Presidential
Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor a US President can
bestow – at the White House.
Progress and Milestones
January 2008 – Grameen America begins lending in Jackson Heights, Queens
November 2008 – Grameen America reaches $1 million is loans disbursed
May 2009 – New branches are launched in Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan
June 2009 – New branch launches in Omaha, Nebraska
August 2009 – Grameen America issues 1,000th microloan
August 2009 – Founder Muhammad Yunus is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack
Obama at a White House Ceremony
November 2009 – Grameen America reaches 1,500 borrowers in the US
November 2009 – A major New York Times photo-essay showcases the successes of six Grameen America
January 2010 – Grameen America secures anchor funding from the Silicon Valley Bank to open in the San Francisco
February 2010 – Grameen America reaches 2,500 borrowers
Small loans change lives: Delia’s story
Originally from Cuenca Ecuador, Delia came to the United States in search of better opportunities. She left
behind her alcoholic husband and made the trip to the United States alone, sending her children to stay with their
grandmother. Through working in factories, she was able to get by and send some money home to her family.
Delia worked in factories for many years until one day a friend suggested that she start her own business.
Lacking access to a bank or financial services, Delia took a loan from an informal money-lender to launch an ice-
cream business. In the summer of 2008, she found herself struggling to keep the ice-cream business afloat.
Hearing about Delia‟s situation, a friend told her about Grameen America and brought her to a center meeting in
Queens. Delia liked what she saw, and she soon joined Grameen America and took her first loan to get her
business back on track.
Delia‟s first loan was $2,000 for a term of one year, to purchase a large freezer, ice cream flavors, and supplies.
Each week she pays $44: $40 for capital, $4 for interest. After six months of timely repayment, Delia became
eligible to apply for a loan advance of $1,100. With this advance, she was able to renew ther permit for her
push-cart and keep her business afloat.
Delia has opened a savings account and now makes a weekly savings deposit. She says she is happy running
her own business, and being able to save earnings that would have otherwise gone toward paying extremely
high interest rates. This fall she became eligible for her second loan, which she used to open another small
business for the winter months.
- Disbursed over $5 million to more than 2,600 low income borrowers
- Repayment rate greater than 99%
- Borrowers have savings deposits of over $350,000
-100% of loans are to start or expand a small business
- >650 average credit score*
*For borrowers who had no adverse credit history before joining Grameen America
In the Media
Grameen America Media Coverage: Highlights
Media Outlet Media Category Date Title
TIME Magazine Magazine 1/11/10 Can Microfinance Make it in America?
New York Times, Sunday Business Section Newspaper 11/15/09 Microlending from Bangladesh to the Boroughs (Photo-Essay)
Time Magazine Magazine 9/28/09 Issue 10 Questions for Muhammad Yunus
Former President Bill Clinton highlights Grameen America‟s work in Part One of
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Television 9/17/09
an interview about the Clinton Global Initiative
GOOD Magazine Magazine TBD Fall „09 Feature on Grameen America
Micro-lender considers Charlotte branch; the NY-based nonprofit bank has won
Charlotte Observer Newspaper 8/25/09
praise and awards for making small loans to poor entrepreneurs
Omaha World Herald Newspaper 8/13/09 Small Loans, Big Impact
Fox Business Television 8/13/09 Helping Communities through Microfinancing
American Banker Newspaper 6/29/09 Microlenders Are Taking Macro View
The World Magazine 6/20/09 Issue Recession-proof banking?
BBC News Online 5/7/09 Small loans lead to big returns
Nightly News with Brian Williams - NBC Television 4/30/09 Banker to the poor finds success making loans to the poor
CNN – Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull Television 4/1/09 Power to Change featuring Muhammad Yunus and Grameen America
Reuters.com Online Newspaper 4/26/09 "Banker to the poor" gives New York women a boost
ABC Tiempo Television 2/15/09 Tiempo
ABC News Television 2/13/09 Getting a loan when the bank says no
CNN - Your Money Television 2/14/09 Poor People's Bank Thrives
Charlotte News and Observer Newspaper 2/6/09 Nobelist bankers branching out
Plans for the Future: Expansion and Sustainability
Grameen America currently operates branches in New York City and Omaha, Nebraska. Over time,
Grameen America intends to open branches in over 50 cities across the United States. Given the need
for basic community banking, our goal is to serve one million low-income entrepreneurs, and have
substantial impact on alleviating poverty in the United States.
Other potential Grameen America locations
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
For more information, contact: