The Grameen Bank is a microfinance organization and community
development bank started in Bangladesh that makes small loans
(known as microcredit or "grameencredit") to the impoverished
without requiring collateral. The word "Grameen," derived from the
word "gram" or "village," means "of the village." The system of
this bank is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are
under-utilized. A group-based credit approach is applied which
utilizes the peer-pressure within the group to ensure the borrowers
follow through and use caution in conducting their financial
affairs with strict discipline, ensuring repayment eventually and
allowing the borrowers to develop good credit standing. The bank
also accepts deposits, provides other services, and runs several
development-oriented businesses including fabric, telephone and
energy companies. Another distinctive feature of the bank's credit
program is that a significant majority of its borrowers are women.
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