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David Roodman's Microfinance Open Book Blog

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Contrary to the reassuring February 28 update I posted yesterday, there are reports of accelerating withdrawals from the Grameen Bank in the last couple of weeks. So far the numbers represent perhaps 0.3--3% of the bank's reported 103 billion taka ($1.46 billion) deposit base, which is worrying given the potential for rapid increase. News of withdrawals feeds withdrawals.

I have heard from reliable sources that withdrawals for the current week will total 300 million taka, or 0.3% of the deposit base.

Separately, here is a report from a Bangla newspaper known for its independence [or not: see below], Amader Shomoy. Its bottom line is an order of magnitude bigger---quite substantial if true. Possibly the number is just a rough estimate based on fragmentary information. Possibly the article is maliciously exaggerating. It renders properly for me only in Internet Explorer. Here is a screen shot:

And here is a quick translation from Asif Dowla, the U.S.-based expert on the Grameen Bank. Asif cannot verify the accuracy of the article itself:

Depositors rush to withdraw their money from Grameen Bank, already 3 billion taka have been withdrawn

Byline: Aminul Islam

Instability among borrowers and depositors of Grameen Bank has stirred after the announcement of Professor Muhammad Yunus's removal as Managing Director of Grameen Bank.

Sources in Grameen Bank informed that depositers in 1,000 out of 2,600 branches has applied for withdrawal. Yesterday (March 9, 2011) these branches received application for withdrawal totaling [averaging?] 2 to 3 million taka. Accordingly, yesterday alone a total demand for withdrawal of 3 billion received in all the branches. Most of the applicants received their deposits, however, many of the branches could not meet the request because of lack of fund at the branch office. These branches had to request the Head Office for funds. The Head Office has ordered the branches to return the money to anyone who requested. Grameen Bank does not believe it will create a liquidity crisis for the bank. A staff of the bank predicted that the rate of withdrawals will increase if crisis regarding the Managing Directors post is not resolved. He commented that then it will be difficult to save the bank.

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