Microlending Bank to Use $450,000 Grant in N.C.
Grameen America, once eyeing North Carolina for the launch of a federal credit union, will receive a $450,000 grant to help spur small business growth in low-income communities there.
The two-year grant comes from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The funds will be used for fundraising efforts to form a Grameen America branch in North Carolina, said John Lassiter, fundraising co-chairperson for Grameen America North Carolina.
In February 2009, Grameen America met with officials from State Employees' Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the North Carolina Bankers Association and both the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks and the North Carolina Administrator of Credit Unions to discuss setting up an affiliate in the Tar Heel state. All welcomed the bank's concept. Grameen America had previously expressed interest in obtaining a federal credit union charter in North Carolina. In August, the bank told Credit Union Times that pursuing a credit union license is one long-term strategy.
Grameen Bank, which started in Bangladesh in 1983, provides loans, sav-ings programs, credit establishment and other finan-cial services to the working poor. Grameen America, its New York-based affiliate, launched in January 2008.