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A Special CEO Honor

CEO Profile

Muhammad Yunus - CEO of Garmeen Bank and the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

Muhammad Yunus
CEO of Grameen Bank
Nobel Peace Prize 2006

The Economist CEO
Who Made a Difference and a Profit

Company Profile

Industry: Financial Services (Microcredit)
Employees: 24,700
Revenues: $ 9.8B
Market Cap: $ 6.7B

CEO Achievements

Transforming the lives of millions of people by helping them fight poverty while making a profit.

“Muhammad Yunus’ ideas have already had a great impact on the Third World, and...hearing his appeal for a ‘poverty-free world’ from the source itself can be as stirring as that all-American myth of bootstrap success.”  - The Washington Post

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was a vocal advocate for awarding the Nobel Prize to Muhammad Yunus. In a speech given at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002, President Clinton described Dr. Yunus as "a man who long ago should have won the Nobel Prize [and] I’ll keep saying that until they finally give it to him.

Professor Muhammad Yunus is internationally recognized for his work in poverty alleviation and the empowerment of poor women. He successfully melded capitalism with social responsibility to create the Grameen Bank, a microcredit institution committed to providing medium amounts of working capital to the poor for self-employment. From its origins as an action-research project in 1976, Grameen Bank has grown to provide collateral-free loans to 7.5 million clients in more than 82,072 villages in Bangladesh, 97% of whom are women.

The successful and innovative approach to poverty alleviation pioneered by Professor Yunus in a medium village in Bangladesh has inspired a global microcredit movement reaching out to millions of poor women in a hundred countries throughout the world from rural South Africa to inner city Chicago.

The unethical and risky derivative financial practices of many bankers proved toxic to their customers, employees and investors. What is sad is that the US government proposed the creation of the "Bad Bank" to absorb all their toxic assets. US economists and government policy makers can learn a few lessons from Muhammad Yunus by creating the "Good bank". Not only it is a good socioeconomic goal to serve the underserved communities, it is also good for the investors. With its $9 billion collateral-free loans to 7.5 million clients and an amazing rate of 98% loan repayment rates  (no western bank can compete with that rate), the Grameen bank should become the new model for banking and economic development. - Med Jones  - President of International Institute of Management

CEO Bio

Born in 1940, Muhammad Yunus is a world famous Bangladeshi banker. Professor Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in Oslo, Norway, for his pioneering work in fighting global poverty through loans and other financial services for the poor. Microcredit involves the lending of medium amounts of money to the world’s poorest people to start micro-businesses and move themselves away from poverty. He was previously a professor of economics where he developed the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. He is one of the founding members of Global Elders. Yunus also serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations causes. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the UN

Yunus is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen America and Grameen Foundation.

CEO Insights

I went to the bank and proposed that they lend money to the poor people. The bankers almost fell over.... My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see. - Muhammad Yunus, CEO of Grameen Bank.

But we have created a society that does not allow opportunities for those people to take care of themselves because we have denied them those opportunities...I wanted to give money to people like this woman so that they would be free from the moneylenders to sell their product at the price which the markets gave them - which was much higher than what the trader was giving them. - Muhammad Yunus, CEO of Grameen Bank.

I was teaching in one of the universities while the country was suffering from a severe famine. People were dying of hunger, and I felt very helpless. As an economist, I had no tool in my tool box to fix that kind of situation. - Muhammad Yunus, CEO of Grameen Bank.

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