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Yunus hits out at banking for not lending to poor

February 02, 2007 15:51 IST

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of the micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, hit out at banks on Friday for not providing loans to the poor and disadvantaged.

"Only one-third of the population has access to credit while the rest are not creditworthy for the system. We have left two-thirds of the world poor, disadvantageous and without a starting point," he said. 

Credit, he said, an important tool to eradicate poverty, was a human right.

Supporting his views, RBI Governor Y V Reddy said the apex bank would frame a charter to make credit a human right.

The seeds of poverty arise from institutions, policies and concepts made by people, Yunus said.

"Micro-credit is a little tool to help unleash the part of energy which is there in every human being," he said. "Poor people are like bonsai. They have all the capabilities to rise up like big trees but the problem is they are planted in flower pots."

Reaching out to the poorest strata of society, including beggars and the physically challenged, Grameen Bank disburses about half a billion dollars annually to seven million people through a staff of 21,000 people.

"Today 80 per cent of the poor in Bangladesh have access to micro-credit and we will cover 100 per cent of the poor before 2010," he said.

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