The FINANCIAL -- Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus never had ambitions to be a banker he told a packed audience at Saïd Business School last week.
As a young economics teacher he was struck by the difficulties caused by loan sharks operating in the next village who were exacerbating social problems as Bangladesh faced a severe famine and people were dying of hunger.
Unable to stand by, Yunus started to lend small amounts of his own money to the villagers. Word spread and demand grew but when he approached the banks they only agreed to help if Yunus acted as a guarantor and shouldered the risk. And so the seeds of Grameen bank were sown.
35 years on Grameen Bank has grown to 8.5 million borrowers lending $130m every month. As Saïd Business School reported, the model is almost the mirror image of a traditional bank. “The way I designed it is very simple,” he said, “because every time I needed a principle I just looked at the conventional banks and did the opposite.”
Invited by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School Yunus talks of his mission to use business to solve social issues, create jobs and raise the social wellbeing of millions of impoverished people around the world.