Economy, Currency and Banking
Grameen Bank, owned banks, paisa, pottery, rural poor
The principal unit of currency in Bangladesh is the taka (52.14 taka equal U.S.$1; 2000 average); the taka is divided into 100 paisa. The government-run Bangladesh Bank handles central-banking operations. Some banks are government-owned, but there are many privately owned banks, as well as branches of foreign banks.
The Grameen Bank has pioneered innovative approaches to providing credit to the rural poor in Bangladesh. The bank’s successful approach has been used as a model in many other developing countries. Founded as a local initiative by university economics professor Muhammad Yunus in 1976, the bank now has more than 1,000 branches nationwide and more than 2 million members. Because the bank does not require collateral, it can extend credit to individuals who traditionally were excluded from the banking system. Borrowers, the majority of whom are women, use the credit to improve their standard of living through small-scale enterprises such as pottery, basket making, and textile weaving.
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