Bank in Bangladesh, the first bank to specialize in small loans for poor individuals. Originated by economist Muhammad Yunus, the Grameen banking model is based on groups of five prospective borrowers who meet regularly with Grameen Bank field managers. Typically, two of the five prospective borrowers are granted loans. If, after a probationary time period, the first two borrowers meet the terms of repayment, then loans are granted to the remaining group members. Peer pressure acts as a replacement for traditional loan collateral. Grameen became an independent bank in 1983; headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, it has more than 2,200 branches in the country. An average Grameen loan is about $300. The Grameen model has come to symbolize an efficient means of helping the poor by providing them with opportunities to help themselves. Nearly all of Grameen's loan recipients have been women. In 2006 Grameen Bank and Yunus were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
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