Direction for question : Read the following passage and answer the question that follows. Grameen Bank believes that lack of access to credit is the biggest constraint for the rural poor. If the poor are provided credit on reasonable terms, they themselves best know how to increase their incomes. Grameen Bank targets and mobilizes the poor and creates social and financial conditions so that they receive credit by identifying a source of self-employment in familiar rural non-farm activities. The Bank’s method of targeting the poor is effective as it mobilizes only those who are willing to bear the costs of group formation, training, and monitoring each other’s activities, and those who are satisfied with the relatively small sums they can borrow and repay. To better meet its ultimate goal of social and economic development, Grameen Bank targets women more than men. By doing so, it directly channels credit to the poorest and the least empowered and helps improve the living standards of their families. Along with providing credit, Grameen Bank offers guidelines to members for codes of conduct and activities aimed at improving their social and financial conditions. It also provides training to women in maternal health, nutrition, and childcare to generate greater demand for basic health care services. Lending entails high risk of loan default due to adverse selection of borrowers and disability of lenders to enforce the loan contracts. Contrary to the practice of formal finance, Grameen Bank lends (in small amounts) to the poor based on group responsibility where individual access to credit depends on group from bad ones. Unlike other development banks, Grameen Bank mobilizes savings as an integral part of lending. Each member is required to save Taka 1 each week and buy a Grameen Bank share worth Taka 100. In addition, each borrower contributes 5 percent of the loan amount to a group fund and Taka 5 for every 1,000 Takas above loan size greater than Taka 1,000 to an emergency fund. These savings mobilization schemes provide protection of loans against default, an internal source of finance, and a stake for the members in Bank operations. In 1993, with 1,039 branches covering almost half of Bangladesh’s villages, the Bank served more than 1.8 million borrowers and disbursed $169 million. By 1993, cumulative member savings totaled over $218 million. Almost 94 percent of the Bank’s members are poor women, accounting for nearly 70 percent of savings mobilized, and receiving over 80 percent of the total loans disbursed. Its loan recovery rate has been consistently over 90 percent compared with rates from 25 to 50 percent for other financial institutions in Bangladesh. Contrary to common belief, Grameen’s experience is that women are better credit risks with higher loan recovery rates than men (97 percent compared to 89 percent in 1992), and that the dropout rate is lower for women (15 percent) than for men (25 percent). The Grameen model is being replicated in more than 30 countries and the World Bank has provided a grant of $2 million for its replication in low-income countries. While sophisticated econometric analysis is underway, preliminary analysis suggests that Grameen Bank has generated a number of benefits both at the household and village level. At the household level, the benefits from program participation include changes in income, employment, assets accumulation, networth, and other household welfare indicators (such as contraceptive use, school enrollment of children, etc.). Program participation has enabled members to enhance their assets and networth. For example, a program participating household owns 56 percent more resources and 51 percent more networth than a nonparticipating household. Program participation has also increased calorie intake, especially among female household members. The incidence of poverty is substantially reduced among program participants. Labor force participation, especially among women, is higher among participants than nonparticipants; women’s labor force participation is 66 percent among program participants compared to 52 percent for non participants. The school participation rate of girls is also higher for participants (57 percent) than for nonparticipants (36 percent). Program participation also increases the use of contraceptives, better toilet facilities, and better drinking water. In addition, program placement generates income gains for the poor as a whole through its impacts on the local resource allocation. For example, the daily male wage is 23 percent higher in program villages compared with nonprogram villages. Even after controlling for village characteristics, the study finds that up to 11 percent of the 23 percent wage increase is due to Grameen Bank program placement.

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