Learnings- Banker to the Poor by Mohammad Yunus

My 100th post ! I think it is fitting that I write a book review for it, since it is really how I started this blog. So here goes.. πŸ™‚

This book is about Grameen Bank and the role the author (Mohd. Yunus) played in its founding and development.

The beginning was pretty nice, where he describes experiences in his youth and his passion for making a mark in the Bangladeshi society. Grameen Bank is eventually born out of his hard work and grows slowly but steadily to become the well know establishment it is now. The Bank basically operates as a private bank exclusively for the poor and gives people micro-loans (loans of very small monetary value, but very essential for poor villagers to kick start their business). It is also a for-profit enterprise, which it makes it viable for anyone to join.

I enjoyed the people related section of the book more than the technical working of the Bank.Β Things I learnt from the book are-

1. What social entrepreneurship really means. Many people keep using this word these days and it has become a sort of
cool thing to do, atleast among the college going friends I have. After reading this book, I got an introduction to what it is really about and I can now appreciate the idea, if not start a company myself. πŸ™‚

2. Introduction to micro-credit.

Having no economics/finance background whatsoever, this book was a good read to learn about micro-finance and related topics. However, the author tends to get a little technical in the details of the working of the bank which can be boring for people who just want an overall picture of Grameen.

3. I feel the author kept spouting success stories by the minute (which can get very repetitive), but you can’t really blame him since he has done something quite phenomenal in Bangladesh! The country is overpopulated, is hit heavily by all sorts of natural disasters and is economically extremely backward. The way Dr. Yunus Β has transformed every problem into an opportunity is really quite something. πŸ™‚

4. This book was not so much a lesson leadership as I expected it to be. However, it was a good learning in terms of the value of networking. In all the stories in the book, many of them have had happy endings only because of some government official/ rich international politician decided to be nice to Dr.Yunus. Also, most of these friends were the ones he made when he was still a student in Bangladesh and the US. I thought that was pretty interesting. πŸ™‚

5. Finally, I also learnt what poverty really is about. I guess being in a city in a comfortable house never really gave me a chance to see really poor people, but this book opened my eyes to them in a way. This is nothing compared to the real picture seen live, but it is a start and I hope to do something more than just give charity to these people.

That’s it for now! Have a great Monday everyone! πŸ˜€

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3 thoughts on “Learnings- Banker to the Poor by Mohammad Yunus

  1. Md.Younus is the father of microfinance which of late has caught the fancy of VCs and PEs in all developing countries where the ‘reach’ of conventioanl banks is limited to (believe me)30% pop. What is unique about Younus is that he used technology (mobile phone)successfully to serve the unbanked masses. He has spawned several such banking companies in India too. One such co (sksmicrofinance.com) recently went public with an IPO and it was oversubscribed. This is a fascinating subject under social enterprises. And socially conscious youngsters are getting into this field. But let me warn that there are numerous pitfalls ! cheers.

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