The following mana'o is in preparation to provide an immediate Economic plan to counter federal funding programs
which provide the elderly, children, health, housing, education, employment programs and services to the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) people. The Kanaka Maoli community have the worst social conditions in Hawai'i, In fact, the Kanaka Maoli are the worst economically distressed population in Hawai'i.
Economic Self determination means that the Hawaiian people have an undivided interest in the land and natural resources, but also in the wealth (kala) of our Ali'i, public and private trusts and agencies. Billions of dollars of Hawaiian trust funds in cash are in at least the top three financial institutions today, Bank of Hawaii (BoH), First Hawaiian Bank (FHB) and American Savings (ASB) in which they have benefited hundreds of billions of dollars in leverage. If this is so, then hundreds of Millions to BILLIONS of dollars in local Banks now are making tons of money through a 10 to 1 capital leverage formula. We're not talking about service fees and interest rates, these fees are merely "added value" to the Banking business, we're talking about a 10 to 1 leverage of profit-making potential.
This is just a small portion of what we find when we Follow the Money.
Something Paul Homan taught me is that, "it is important to know that Banks have a Capital Leverage Formula to work off of":
Leverage of Capital to Provide Community Financial Services
Capital Leverage Formula:
Every $1 of Public and Private Grants +
Every $ of Private Capital =
$10 of Direct Lending and Investment in market area
For example, take "a group of people" that invests say, $5 million dollars to start a financial institution/Bank. After passing all federal banking regulations, this group opens their doors for business, now the bank starts with $50 million dollars to "lend and invest in the community".
The Key to this Bank initiative is that every Kanaka Maoli (no blood quantum) will have to be a share/stockholder beneficiaries of this Bank, that is the only way that this plan will work. The fact that the Kanaka Maoli are beneficiaries of these trusts and foundations makes it fool proof, to claim that economic right.
Here is a good example of share/stockholders, In one quarter, Walter Dodds made over $2 million dollars in cash dividends, not to mention his 7 digit salary, he had 7 million shares at that time, in the year 2000. This is where Kanaka Maoli should be receiving "cash dividends" as shareholders of their own Bank, after all we are the beneficiaries.
A Hawaiian owned (this means every Kanaka Maoli) and controlled Bank can accomplish several immediate issues and concerns;
Unify our people economically through shareholder/stockholder ownership in a the Hawaiian owned and controlled bank. Beneficiary Business partners instead of beneficiary wards.
Department of Treasury, under their Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and other related agencies would "protect and oversee" our Wealth.
Protection from the hoarding of Kanaka Maoli trust funds by the city, state and federal government, multi national corporations and financial institutions. While most Kanaka Maoli are paying attention to the outcome of the Akaka bill, it is also a distraction from the real Theft, our Wealth. With this mana'o we can do both.
As share/stock holder beneficiaries of the Bank we can also provide financial resources for native Hawaiian programs and services to replace federal "welfare" funding.
The above mana'o is only the beginning.
Hui Pu has done a Great job with regards to stopping the Akaka Bill politically, still, WE have not been able to counter (media, panel discussions etc.) the Economic questions posed by the Akaka Bill supporters (klien, bennet etc.). This Bank initiative will "loosen up" the "Akaka bill noose" if they see it, but at the same time it could also strangle and choke them to financial submission if they don't.
We can prove that there is a much better way presently, to be economically self sufficient and sustainable, instead of being dependent upon the $70 million dollars a year of federal welfare funds that have become an addiction to the Kanaka Maoli community, (reminds me of Lynette Cruz story of the Hogs).
Attached is a graph that provides a comparison between the Akaka bill and a Native Hawaiian owned and controlled Bank.
We need to FOLLOW THE MONEY, don't be afraid of it, IT'S AN UNDIVIDED INTEREST OF OURS. Your mana'o on this subject is of great importance, a hui hou, bk
"Highest form of Government (Welfare) Programs" Economic Dependency on government grants & entitlements
Self determination; under U.S. law
Wards; of the state and federal governments
Global Settlement; claims settlement
Department of The Interior (Kuhina Nui)
(Protection: 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution)
Mismanagement of Native American Indian Trust Funds (60 Minutes)
ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act)
NATIVE HAWAIIAN TRUSTS: Billions of dollars in cash & assets
Kamehameha Schools (KS former KSBE)
Lunalilo Homes (LT)
Queen Emma (QE)
Queen Kapiolani (QK)
Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center (QLCC)
Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)
Native Hawaiian Coalition (Nationhood Plan)
Kau Inoa; Hawaiian Civic Clubs (Vote / Elections)
Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) existence in jeopardy
Alu Like (AL)
Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC)
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA)
State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHAA)
Hawaiian Civic Clubs
Hui Kako'o 'Aina Ho'opulapula
Governor Lingle and the State of Hawai'i
AFL-CIO, ILWU Local 142, HGEA, HSTA and Hawaii Carpenters Union
NOTE: Federal Welfare (grants & entitlements) funding: $70 million dollars annually in funding for Native Hawaiian health, housing, education & employment programs, the federal governments highest form of Welfare.
NATIVE HAWAIIAN BANK Financial Independence
"Economic Self-determination, Sufficiency and Sustainability" Economic Independence with Community and Government Support
Illegal U.S. Belligerent Military Occupation of Hawai'i
Restoration of Hawai'i's Independence
Department Of Treasury (Protection Agency)
(Protection: Federal Banking Regulations)
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Federal Reserve Bank (FRB)
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
STRATEGIC ECONOMIC REALIGNMENT PLAN:
Limited Capacity to Manage Assets: (OHA's dependency upon these financial experts)
Custodian: safe keeper of the assets, First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii, American Savings etc.
Broker of the Record: clearinghouse of the securities, First Honolulu Securities etc.
Money Manager: so called experts who manage the money, Dennis Wong & Associates, NWQ, Pacific Century/Bank of Hawaii, Bidwell, Bradford & Marzec, Scudder, Ashfield, Cash Clearing, First Hawaiian Bank, American Savings etc.
Maturing Capacity to Manage Assets: Education and Mentorship program
Efficiently and profitably to operate a community development bank focused on Native Hawaiian low and moderate income communities on or near Native Hawaiian Home Lands.
Intentionally to increase access to credit and capital for individuals and institutions in ways that improve the economic health of these communities.
Need for a Community Development Bank
200,000 Native Hawaiians Index of Well Being
Native Hawaiians rank lower than any other ethnic or cultural group in Hawaii when measuring income, unemployment, homelessness, percentage of residents in public assisted housing, level of education, mortality rates and access to health care.
Native Hawaiians are younger, have lower average education, higher unemployment and lower incomes than the non-Native Hawaiians.
Nearly half of Native Hawaiian households experience a problem of affordability, overcrowding, and structural inadequacy.
Native Hawaiian Home Lands Development
The state of Hawaii administers 200,000 acres of trust land for the benefit of Native Hawaiians with indigenous ancestry.
The state of Hawaii provides low cost land leases and other direct benefits such as infrastructure, direct housing loans, and loan guarantees to eligible Native Hawaiians.
Nevertheless, relatively few of the qualifying Native Hawaiians have received assistance to date.
Much of the lands originally set aside for Home Lands appear to be some of the most remote and difficult to develop sites in the state.
Home Land Needs
A 1995 study found that the needs of Native Hawaiians eligible to reside on the Hawaiian Home Lands are the most severe with 95 percent of Home Land Applicants (16,000) in need of housing, and with one-half of those applicant households facing over-crowding and one-third paying more than 30 percent of their income for shelter.
According to a 1999 U. S. Senate report, there are 60,000 Native Hawaiians who would be eligible to reside on the Home Lands. Because of the lack of resources to develop infrastructure (roads, access to water and sewer, and electricity) on the Home Lands as required by state and county laws before housing can be constructed, hundreds of Native Hawaiians on the waiting list have died before receiving an assignment of Home Lands.
Bank Will Fill Some of the Gaps
Bank will fill some of the well being, housing, credit and economic gaps currently being experienced by Native Hawaiian low and moderate income communities.
Bank will work closely with community organizations to produce affordable housing and encourage entrepreneurship.
Bank will offer a combination of real estate, commercial and consumer loans, along with fiduciary, investment, and retail financial services.
Within each general financial service category, Bank will offer niche products including a menu of financial services with a demonstrated record of working in low and moderate income communities.
Board and Advisory Board of Directors
Strong and Diverse Board and Advisory Board of Directors
Leaders of Hawaiiıs Community Development Institutions
Affordable Housing Experts
Four with Extensive Banking and Investment Experience
Business, Professional and Civic Leaders
Chief Executive Officer to be a Qualified and Experienced Banker.
Chairman to be a Qualified and Experienced Banker as well as have experience in equity investing, community development, and organizational activities.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Lending Officer to be Qualified and Experienced Bankers.
Native Hawaiian Bank will be controlled by the people it serves.
There will be a broad base of Hawaiian institutional and individual shareholders, including participation through grants by state and federal governments, and private institutions.
Native Hawaiians, including low and moderate income individuals, will become shareholders through grant and educational programs.
Native Hawaiian Education Program
Bank will seek grants from public and private sources to fund and manage:
A two-semester education program covering the personal financial planning process and the life event approach to financial planning.
Kamehameha Schools, the University of Hawaii, financial planning organizations, and selected Hawaii public school systems will be consulted in the development of course content and the standards for completing the course.
The course is intended to be offered, taught, and administered in public and private schools, adult education classes, state and local universities, and other educational facilities.
All Native Hawaiians 16 years or older will be eligible to take the courses.
The Native Hawaiian Financial Education Programıs goal is to encourage, promote and achieve for each graduate:
Increased knowledge of personal financial planning.
Improved skills and expertise in financial planning and management.
Successful graduates will be able to use the knowledge and expertise gained to improve the social and economic welfare of their families, their communities, and themselves.
Native Hawaiian Education Program Rewards
The first 25,000 Native Hawaiian Graduates of the Education Program will receive $150 to $500 each in common stock of NH Bancorporation, the parent of the Bank. Amount received will be dependent on capital grants of $3.8 million to $12.5 million provided by public and private donors to NH Holdings, the non-profit parent of NH Bancorporation and the Bank. NH Holdings will hold the stock in trust for Native Hawaiians and will distribute the stock to graduates when they complete the program.
The first 25,000 Native Hawaiian Graduates will also receive up to $500 each in an IRA, Roth, or equivalent Retirement Account. Amount received will be dependent on a separate grant of up to $12.5 million provided by public and private donors. $500 received at age 16 with interest compounded at 6.5% yields over $11,600 at retirement age.
Capital and Financing Goals
$3.5 to $20 million in grants will be sought by NH Holdings from public and private institutions. Proceeds after pre-opening and organizational expenses will be invested in the common stock of NH Bancorporation. NH Holdings will transfer ownership of such stock in amounts up to $12.5 million to graduates of the Native Hawaiian Education Program.
A minimum of $7 million and up to $20 million of cash received from NH Holdings and other investors and up to $10 million raised from a preferred stock issue will be invested by NH Bancorporation in Native Hawaiian Bank after pre-opening and organizational expenses. NH Bancorporation will own 100% of the Bank.
$20 to $50 million in deposits from public and private sources will be raised by the Bank during its first three years of operations.
Leverage of Capital to Provide Community Financial Services
Community Financial Services Provided
Community Financial Services
$70 to $285 million in Community Financial Products will be provided by Native Hawaiian Bank during its first five years, assuming a capital structure of 7 to 28.5 million dollars.
Community Financial Services will include:
Fiduciary Savings and Investment Products
Small Business Investments and Loans
Mortgage and Other Real Estate Loans
Deposit and Savings Services
The Bank will also provide the following financial services that are not traditionally provided by banks:
Home ownership outreach and education
Home ownership counseling customized for Hawaiian culture and values
Assistance for families that are responsible for getting their own homes built
Post loan counseling
Servicing of the portfolio consistent with the holistic approach to home ownership
SPECIAL TRUSTEE FOR AMERICAN INDIANS
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
September 1995 - January 1999
Mr. Homan served three years as the Special Trustee for American Indians which was created by Congress in 1994. He took office on September 19, 1995, after being appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Special Trustee's responsibility was to oversee all reform efforts within the Department of the Interior relating to the trust responsibilities of the Secretary to ensure the establishment of policies, procedures, systems and practices to allow the discharge of his trust responsibilities.
COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY - Senior Advisor
May 1990 - August 1991
Member of OCC Policy Group; head of RTC and FDIC liaison/director groups; head of internal consulting division providing independent analysis and advice regarding case resolutions of large or complex problem institutions; head of liaison activities with major bank CEOs, bank analyst, rating agencies, and banking industry lawyers and consultants. Policy advisor on bank supervision structure, bank accounting and reporting and distressed asset disposition and restructuring.
COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY - Senior Deputy Comptroller
1966 - 1982 for Bank Supervision
Served as OCC's senior career bank supervisor from 1978 through 1982 with overall responsibility for multi-national banks, regional banks, failing banks and problem banks. Was responsible for OCC's supervision policies and procedures and monitoring the safety and soundness of the National banking system. Served as OCC liaison with the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and various congressional committees:
In twelve years, rose from a field national bank examiner to OCC's top professional career position. Supervised 4,700 national banks.
OCC's principal policy head for enforcement, financial analysis and ratings, capital standards, problem banks and failing bank resolutions.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 21, 1995
PRESIDENT NAMES PAUL M. HOMAN SPECIAL TRUSTEE FOR AMERICAN INDIANS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
President Clinton today announced his intent to nominate Paul M. Homan of the District of Columbia as Special Trustee for American Indians, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Mr. Homan currently serves as an independent bank consultant at Homan and Associates. He is the former President and CEO of the Riggs National Bank of Washington, D.C.; President and CEO of First Florida Banks, INC.; Senior Advisor to the Comptroller of the Currency; Executive Vice President of Continental Bank; Chairman and CEO of Nevada National Bank; and Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision for the Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Homan received his B.A. and M.A. in economics from the University of Nebraska, and attended the Graduate School for International Banking at the University of Colorado as well as the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.
The position of Special Trustee for American Indians was created by Congress in the 1994 American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act. The Special Trustee is charged with developing a strategic plan for the proper and efficient discharge of the Secretary's responsibilities for the proper management of oil and gas, timber, ranch and farm land, and other Indian trust assets the Department holds and manages. The Special Trustee is specifically assigned responsibility for ensuring the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Minerals Management Service (MMS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) establish, maintain, coordinate and integrate policies, procedures, systems and practices related to the discharge of the Secretary's trust responsibilities. In addition, the Trustee will ensure that BIA properly accounts for the daily and annual balance of all funds held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian tribe or individual Indian. The trust currently contains assets of approximately $2 billion.
Indians' Special Trustee Quits, Criticizing Babbitt
Problems With Trust Fund Accounts Noted
By William Claiborne
Washington Post Staff Writer
The Clinton administration's special trustee for American Indians resigned in protest yesterday, charging Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt with obstructing his efforts to untangle billions of dollars in mismanaged Indian trust fund accounts. Paul M. Homan, the special trustee, said in a letter to his staff that an order issued by Babbitt on Tuesday that reorganized Homan's office "usurped the powers, duties and responsibilities" of the special trustee.
Homan, who has been at loggerheads with Babbitt for years over reforming the management of Indian trust accounts, said the order effectively "designated two other officials to become the special trustee," thereby taking away the independence guaranteed by the 1994 law that created his office.
"In short, I felt I was deprived of the authority and the resources, principally managerial resources, necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the special trustee," he wrote. Homan did not return telephone calls to his office for comment.
His resignation came just four days before Babbitt and Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who has frequently clashed with the Clinton administration, to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for delays in producing the records of five Indian trust accounts involved in a class action lawsuit filed in 1996 over the Bureau of Indian Affairs' alleged mismanagement of Indian trust funds.
Interior spokeswoman Stephanie Hanna said yesterday that Babbitt "feels all Indian tribes and individuals with trust fund accounts are owed the best level of expertise as possible." That is why, she said, the secretary reorganized the special trustee's office to "strengthen and clarify" management responsibilities. She said a new principal deputy and the new head of the Albuquerque records office would report to the special trustee and were "part of an effort to improve things."
Hanna said Babbitt has accepted Homan's resignation but has no comment. She said the secretary "appreciates all of the work Paul Homan has done and knows that it is an enormous task to undo 80 years of management deficiencies and underfunding in [Indian] trust account management."
Homan, the former president of Riggs National Bank and a onetime senior official of the Comptroller of the Currency's office, was named by President Clinton in 1995 to one of the federal government's most daunting jobs-untangling $2.9 billion in trust accounts that the government holds for Native Americans, much of which federal audits have shown cannot be accounted for.
It is not known how much is actually missing, but an advisory committee said the government could be liable for as much as $575 million in undocumented disbursements, which may have resulted in less money going to the tribes.
Homan initially targeted 300,000 accounts belonging to individual Indians who are supposed to receive royalties from the sale of petroleum and other natural resources from their land. As much as $1 million has flowed through some of the accounts in a single year, while others received only a few dollars.
In a deposition filed in June 1997, in connection with the class action lawsuit, Homan said he had encountered "obstruction" from senior Interior officials, including Babbitt, who he said had failed to provide adequate funds and staff for running the special trustee's office and Indian trust programs.
In his testimony, he said Babbitt's trust policy committee, which includes the secretary and top officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget, had become known by many involved in Indian trust management as the "Homan Containment Committee."
Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet tribe and one of the lead plaintiffs, called Homan's resignation a "sock in the stomach" to all Indians and an indication of how desperately Babbitt is trying to cover up the mismanagement of the trust funds. "We lost the only credible person who knows anything about managing trust funds and who knew how to fix it," Cobell said. "For more than 100 years, any time we have tried to get accountability of trust funds, someone like Babbitt has come along to stop us."
Said Cobell: "He's playing dirty and retaliating against us for making him show cause why he shouldn't be held in contempt."
TESTIMONY ON THE SPECIAL TRUSTEE'S STRATEGIC PLAN BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
JULY 30, 1997
SUBMITTED BY ELOUISE COBELL
The Indian Investment Bank
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on the Special Trustee's strategic plan. My name is Elouise Cobell, Executive Director of the Blackfeet Reservation Development Fund.
I am also the Blackfeet Tribe's representative on trust fund issues, Director of the IIM Correction and Recovery Project, Chair of the Special Trustee's Advisory Board, a board member of ITMA and Secretary of the Blackfeet National Bank. In these various capacities, I have spent the past twenty years working to get the federal government to reform its mismanagement of the Indian trust funds and trust assets.
The tribes have taken ideas put forth by three admirable sources to address the trust fund management issue. The Special Trustee [Paul Homan] had proposed that eventually the AITDA evolve into an Indian Development Bank, capitalized from the settlement of the Government's liability for trust mismanagement. One of its side benefits is that it would provide funds to enable tribes and individual Indians to begin consolidating fractionated heirship interests, thereby bringing a solution to that frustrating problem.
Senator Inouye saw a different vision; that of an Indian investment bank that would bring together the vast amounts of money tribes have and use them both to help other tribes engage in economic development and to project Indian economic power as an antidote to the building anti-Indian sentiment in various quarters. Chairman Campbell has had a vision of an institution that would assist tribes develop tribally owned banks on their reservations that could help promote the local economy, just the way the Blackfeet National Bank has helped to spark economic activity on Blackfeet.
A group of tribes have combined those visions into the idea of an Indian Investment Bank and Trust that would be capitalized by tribes, would invest in Indian economic development (including projects that consolidated fractionated property), project Indian economic power, manage the Indian trust funds as a federal fiduciary, and assist tribes start up their own banks. All of these functions fit appropriately under an Indian bank concept. In fact, they fit better under an Indian bank than they do anywhere else. We are moving forward rapidly on this vision and hope to have proposed legislation to the Committee by early September. We greatly appreciate the assistance your staffs have provided to us as this idea has developed and deeply appreciate the creativity, advocacy and support that the members of the Committee have brought to the various pieces of this vision. Without trying to overstate it, we see this idea as one of the most far reaching and creative solutions to so many of the problems that now ail Indian country.
In 1974, Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist from Chittagong University, led his students on a field trip to a poor village. They interviewed a woman who made bamboo stools, and learnt that she had to borrow the equivalent of 15p to buy raw bamboo for each stool made. After repaying the middleman, sometimes at rates as high as 10% a week, she was left with a penny profit margin. Had she been able to borrow at more advantageous rates, she would have been able to amass an economic cushion and raise herself above subsistence level.
Realizing that there must be something terribly wrong with the economics he was teaching, Yunus took matters into his own hands, and from his own pocket lent the equivalent of £ 17 to 42 basket-weavers. He found that it was possible with this tiny amount not only to help them survive, but also to create the spark of personal initiative and enterprise necessary to pull themselves out of poverty.
Against the advice of banks and government, Yunus carried on giving out 'micro-loans', and in 1983 formed the Grameen Bank, meaning 'village bank' founded on principles of trust and solidarity. In Bangladesh today, Grameen has 1,084 branches, with 12,500 staff serving 2.1 million borrowers in 37,000 villages. On any working day Grameen collects an average of $1.5 million in weekly installments. Of the borrowers, 94% are women and over 98% of the loans are paid back, a recovery rate higher than any other banking system. Grameen methods are applied in projects in 58 countries, including the US, Canada, France, The Netherlands and Norway.
Muhammad Yunus is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream is the total eradication of poverty from the world. 'Grameen', he claims, 'is a message of hope, a programme for putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long'. This work is a fundamental rethink on the economic relationship between the rich and the poor, their rights and their obligations. The World Bank recently acknowledged that 'this business approach to the alleviation of poverty has allowed millions of individuals to work their way out of poverty with dignity'. In 1997, Professor Yunus led the worldıs first Micro Credit Summit in Washington, DC.
Credit is the last hope left to those faced with absolute poverty. That is why Muhammad Yunus believes that the right to credit should be recognized as a fundamental human right. It is this struggle and the unique and extraordinary methods he invented to combat human despair that Muhammad Yunus recounts here with humility and conviction. It is also the view of a man familiar with both Eastern and Western cultures on the failures and potential for good of industrial countries. It is an appeal for action: we must concentrate on promoting the will to survive and the courage to build in the first and most essential element of the economic cycle, Man.
If I could be useful to another human being, even for a day, that would be a great thing. It would be greater than all the big thoughts I could have at the university.
-- Muhammad Yunus
I only wish every nation shared Dr Yunusı and the Grameen Bankıs appreciation of the vital role that girls and women play in the economic, social and political life of our societies.
-- US First Lady Hillary Clinton
By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr Yunus has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of food. He has offered them security in its most fundamental form.
-- Former US President Jimmy Carter
Muhammad Yunus has had phenomenal success helping people lift themselves out of poverty in rural Bangladesh by providing them with credit without requiring collateral. Yunus developed his revolutionary micro-credit system with the belief that it would be a cost effective and scalable weapon to fight poverty.
Yunus told his story and that of the bank in the book "Banker to the Poor," co-authored by him and Alan Jolis. In the book, Yunus recalls that in 1974 he was teaching economics at a Chittagong University in southern Bangladesh, when the country experienced a terrible famine in which thousands starved to death.
"We tried to ignore it," he says. "But then skeleton-like people began showing up in the capital, Dhaka. Soon the trickle became a flood. Hungry people were everywhere. Often they sat so still that one could not be sure whether they were alive or dead. They all looked alike: men, women, children. Old people looked like children, and children looked like old people.
The thrill he had once experienced studying economics and teaching his students elegant economic theories that could supposedly cure societal problems soon left him entirely. As the famine worsened he began to dread his own lectures.
"Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me. How could I go on telling my students make believe stories in the name of economics? I needed to run away from these theories and from my textbooks and discover the real-life economics of a poor person's existence."
Yunus went to the nearby village of Jobra where he learned the economic realities of the poor. Yunus wanted to help, and he cooked up several plans working with his students. He found that one of his many ideas was more successful than the rest: offering people tiny loans for self-employment. Grameen Bank was born and an economic revolution had begun.
What Does Grameen Bank Do?
Grameen Bank has reversed conventional banking wisdom by focusing on women borrowers, dispensing of the requirement of collateral and extending loans only to the very poorest borrowers. In fact, to qualify for a loan from the Grameen Bank, a villager must demonstrate that her family owns less than one half acre of land.
The bank has provided $4.7 billion dollars to 4.4 million families in rural Bangladesh. With 1,417 branches, Grameen provides services in 51,000 villages, covering three quarters of all the villages in Bangladesh. Yet its system is largely based on mutual trust and the enterprise and accountability of millions of women villagers.
Today, more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries operate micro-credit programs based on the Grameen Bank model, while thousands of other micro-credit programs have emulated, adapted or been inspired by the Grameen Bank. According to one expert in innovative government, the program established by Yunus at the Grameen Bank "is the single most important development in the third world in the last 100 years, and I don't think any two people will disagree."
"I have dedicated my life to addressing the long-standing issues and concerns of our people. I do this for, 'The Love of Country' and to secure the foundation of our Future."
-- Pu'uhonua D. K. Kanahele