Dear Prime Minister Hasina,
As Members of the United States Congress, we write to urge you to reject the recent recommendations of the Grameen Bank Commission that would jeopardize the role Grameen Bank has played in the critical fight to end poverty in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank has delivered a profound and lasting benefit to the people of Bangladesh. It has allowed millions to lift themselves and their families out of poverty and destitution, creating an independent, borrower-run company that is a model for non-governmental organizations across the globe. Its borrowers 97 percent of whom are women — have demonstrated the power of an economic model centered on equality and inclusion.
Both Bangladesh and the international community have a compelling interest in the safety and soundness of Grameen Bank. However, we are profoundly troubled by recent proposals that would fundamentally alter the future of this Nobel Prize-winning institution.
The Grameen Bank Commission, which was created in May 2012 to offer guidance on the future of Grameen Bank, recently provided the Bangladeshi government with several sets of recommendations. One set would disenfranchise nearly 5 million borrower-shareholders in Grameen Bank and dismiss the borrowers who sit on the Bank’s Board of Directors, replacing them with government officials. A second equally devastating set would give the government a formal majority stake in Grameen Bank, or would break the Bank apart into separate entities with no legal relationship between them.