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A Solution to End Poverty in America

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Grameen Bank founder Yunus scouts US expansion.

Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for pioneering a micro-lending model for the world's poorest to engage in business, said Thursday his formula can also help recession-racked American families escape poverty.

The Grameen Bank model developed by Yunus involves lending very small amounts, mostly to women, as seed money for home businesses. A Grameen staffer meets the borrowers in groups every week, tracks progress and offers advice on managing money and startup obstacles.

The formula also relies on peer pressure instead of collateral to secure the loans. Potential borrowers must form five-member groups that approach Grameen jointly for loans. While each borrower is individually responsible for a loan of up to $2,200, group members cannot borrow again unless all are paid up.

Grameen's model has traditionally targeted women because experience has found them to be more responsible than men and more comfortable with group responsibility. But lending is open to all in the U.S. where anti-discrimination laws are strict.

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