Grameen America Scales Microlending Model Across the U.S. with Launch of Microfinance Training Institute in Queens
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
NEW YORK–(Business Wire)–Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization offering microloans, training and support to help women in poverty build small businesses, today announced the launch of the first U.S. Training Institute for microfinance with the support of longstanding partner Capital One. The new Institute, located in Queens, NY, will help provide thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs in low-income communities access to microloans. Through classroom-style learning and apprentice-based training programs, community loan officers will be equipped to empower women entrepreneurs with the financial tools they need to grow their small businesses and create better lives for their families.
A ribbon cutting ceremony on June 17 in Long Island City will mark the opening of the Institute, which will serve as the base for training Grameen America’s field staff of microfinance loan officers. The ultimate goal of the Institute is to become a leading learning center for microfinance in the U.S. The Institute’s teachings are based on Grameen Founder and Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s unique group-lending model, which started in Bangladesh and has been operating successfully in the U.S. for more than six years.
“This Training Institute is a critical step in breaking down economic barriers for women and their families,” explained Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America, who sees the Institute as an opportunity to expand the organization’s services across the U.S. “Scale is the hinge for making a material difference in underserved communities across the country. We will equip community loan officers with the skills to employ sustainable microfinance to empower their neighbors to create better lives for themselves.” As of March 31, 2013, Grameen America has provided over $145 million in microloans to more than 28,000 low-income women in the U.S. to help them build small businesses.
Capital One Bank today announced it is providing $350,000 to help support Grameen America’s expansion across the U.S., including continued support for the Training Institute to help build capacity and fuel growth. In addition to supporting the Training Institute, a portion of the grant will help Grameen invest in technology to scale and grow operations across the country and reach more low-income women. The bank also announced it is providing Grameen America an additional $500,000 in low-interest loans to help grow its lending capital; this builds on the previous $1 million from Capital One to a total $1.5 million in low-cost funding to Grameen America’s loan fund. This support expands on Capital One’s deep relationship with Grameen America, having helped 5,000 Grameen America members establish and build savings accounts at Capital One branches in Brooklyn, N.Y., Union City, N.J., and Austin, Tex.