RALEIGH, N.C. -- After recently meeting with Muhammad Yunus, a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner who founded a mirco loan bank, State Employees' Credit Union is hoping to bring the lending model to North Carolina.
Grameen America is the U.S. affiliate of Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution started in Bangladesh by Yunus. It provides small unsecured business loans to low-income individuals who do not qualify for traditional credit and has a 99.5% loan repayment rate, according to the bank. Grameen America has chosen North Carolina as its next potential site because of the highly supportive stance of the state's financial community, according to $16 billion SECU.
"We greatly enjoyed meeting with Dr. Yunus and the Grameen staff [last week]," said Jim Blaine, president/CEO of SECU. "SECU is always interested in creative solutions to help North Carolina overcome a weakening economy. The cooperation of North Carolina's diverse financial community in supporting this endeavor is the key ingredient."
In addition to SECU, a variety of other financial representatives are supporting this effort, including Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the North Carolina Bankers Association, the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks and the North Carolina Administrator of Credit Unions. SECU said it will likely provide back-office support for the new Grameen America venture.