Monday, January 25, 2010

A new movie on microcredit in the US

A new documentary that chronicles the efforts of Grameen Bank expansion to the US has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Titled “To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America,” the movie shows the struggle that the concept of microcredit has in catching on in the states.

Muhammad Yunus coined the concept of microcredit back in the 1970s when he loaned a few dollars to a Bangladeshi women, since then his Grammen Bank has flourished in Bangladesh with a 99 percent repayment rate. In America however, there have been problems in raising the cash for the bank and getting borrowers to attend required weekly meetings.

From the Huffington Post, blooger Emily Goligoski introduces us to the films director. The youtube of the film’s trailer is after the jump.

Before the screening introduced by producer/director/cinematographer Gayle Ferraro (whose first film Sixteen Decisions followed the story of a borrower in Bangladesh, where the bank first began operating in 1976), founder Dr. Muhammad Yunus spoke about inspiring business ingenuity in potential entrepreneurs. Along with two other Sundance film selection subjects, Harlem Children's Zone founder Geoffrey Canada (of Waiting for Superman) and environmentalist Lester Brown (Climate Refugees), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist said he is eager for a time when people don't have to consider taking work that's either in pursuit of profit-making or social aims only.

His bank has managed to focus on the latter while expanding, but its introduction to the United States hasn't been a seamless one. A young Grameen employee who advises groups of five borrowers in Jackson Heights -- and whose simultaneous patience and frustration are the focus of much of the film -- finds that her clients are less likely to be engaged with weekly group meetings than their Bangladeshi counterparts. Her expression of joking concern when she reads from a bank manual about livestock trading value (when the women she's working with primarily work in clothing and hair extension sale) provides calm as the bank struggles to earn $6 million to set up a legal banking structure in the States, largely through Yunus' nearly-constant speaking engagements.

1 comment:

lavina said...

i know this man very well. Bangladesh must take pride for him. He is a true son of Bangladesh.