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To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America (2010)

For 30 years, Muhammad Yunus helped 7.5 million Bangladeshi move out of poverty. Can he help women in Queens NY to achieve their American Dream?




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Professor Muhammad Yunus' never wanted to be a banker and he certainly never imagined winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet his quest to help the working poor invest in themselves led to both. Known as the father of microcredit loans in Bangladesh, Yunus spent years developing the Grameen Bank, and in 1983 it became a fully licensed bank with a twist-it was owned by its borrowers-mainly poor women. Yunus is famous for saying that in developing Grameen he deliberately did the opposite of what a conventional bank would do. Today, the success of Grameen Bank has changed the lives of 7.5 million Bangladeshi borrowers and their families (in 38 countries worldwide.- delete- it women in Bangladesh they added other countries and now there are 100million mc loans world-wide. But why stop at Bangladesh and poor nations? As the global financial industry struggles with plummeting markets and job loses, Yunus holds steady with his latest banking initiative in New York. Under intense scrutiny from ... Written by Gayle Ferraro

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January 2010 (USA)  »

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Touching, insightful, and entertaining
2 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every poor person in the US is poor for a reason. Ever wonder why? This movie points to one reason, one solution, and dozens of hard working, endearing people you will fall in love with.

The movie is 90% documentary filmed mostly in New York, 10% panel discussion filmed in a studio.

I'm going to talk about the documentary, which is kick-ass, but briefly I will address the panel discussion: It's half celebrities, and half people in micro-finance on that panel. You are going to have to forgive the celebrities in the panel discussion for not knowing anything about micro-finance, and for acting like celebrities. Maybe you can come up with a drinking game for that part of the film -perhaps take a drink when any celebrity speaks - you will need it. The folks in micro-finance on that panel have something intelligent to say, so it's still worth listening to if you can hang in there.

To Catch A Dollar follows the growth of one micro-finance institution in the US. Specifically, it follows Nobel prize winner Muhammed Yunnus and his efforts to bring micro-finance to the US through the Grameen Foundation. It introduces to viewers the idea of a "social business" - a business whose success is measured only by how well it meets a social goal, not by profit.

The main thread is a fish out-of-water story for the small, struggling, endearing Grameen staff in New York. They face a huge learning curve in adapting a proved system to a very different group of lenders and lender behavior patterns than they have ever dealt with before.

For the Grameen US borrowers, it's a fight. With little education, surrounded by loan sharks, they fight every day to stay disciplined; to stay on the path to a better future.

Will they succeed?

There are brief interludes of Dr. Muhammed Yunnus' struggles thrown into the mix. I ding the film for not exploring the meaning of these interludes a little further. The viewer is given no insight into the impact of major events. Why is it a huge problem if loan sharks, credit card vendors, and now JP Morgan are loaning to the poor in order to maximize their own profit? Why should we not try to maximize profit when dealing with the poorest of the poor? There are obvious, shallow answers, but there are also deeper, more meaningful discussions and further questions about our entire financial system that are left untouched.

Overall, however, it's a fantastic and fun introduction to the world of micro-finance.

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