On the Value of Microcredit

On January 26th, Muhammad Yunus announced the milestone of reaching 100 million microcredit loans. At such a crucial time, many newspapers missed reporting this. But Monday's Deseret News editorial entitled "An Answer to World Poverty" highlighted and explained this achievement.

Yunus began with personal loans to 42 fellow Bangladeshis in 1974, totaling $27. Using small loans to invest in small business, borrowers without collateral paid them back; a virtual impossibility before Yunus founded Grameen Bank - the seminal microcredit institution. Continued borrowing showed a high rate of repayment.

Poverty restrains lasting peace worldwide. Yunus and Grameen Bank won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting economic independence. As the Deseret News editorial stated, picturing the sea of faces at the President’s inauguration, and multiplying by 100, can demonstrate the number of lives microcredit has lifted from poverty.

Conflict in places like Gaza, Iraq, and Sudan, supplies many discouraging headlines. The worldwide financial crisis has caused many to despair. Yet this story counters that tide. While conventional banks are failing, the bank of the poor - the only one that would lend money to these people - helps millions to prosper. This is something we cannot afford to ignore.