Muhammad Yunus “Banks” on the Creation of a Better World
It seems only fitting to have one of the most anticipated films of the Sundance Film Festival be about finances and poverty. After a tumultuous year in the financial markets and record job losses, the documentary To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America brings hope to the poverty stricken while opening the eyes of the fortunate.
Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Yunus is attacking poverty one group of women at a time: he is the remarkable banker and economist who developed the idea of “microcredit” and the founding of the “Grameen Bank” (Village Bank) to enable villages in Bangladesh to obtain credit which would not be provided by traditional banks. 94% of Grameen Bank loans have gone to communities of women who work from their homes and are building resources and opportunities from tiny beginnings. His first loans went to women making bamboo furniture to support their families, and the impact grew rapidly from there. In 2006 Dr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
Showing this incredible documentary at Sundance is helping to bring his ideas to the world. In a panel discussion, Dr. Yunus also added that the bank is really about the individual and each woman’s effort to improve her own life. When somebody asked how much of a need there really was in the United States for such a bank Dr. Yunus pointed to the increase in pawn shops, payday loans offices, and the many other alternatives people use to get quick money. He said that these types of places are a sign that the American banking system is not working.
Dr. Yunus also stated that there is an “overwhelming similarity rather than difference between other countries and the United States” when one looks at poverty across the world. He said the home run for this movie would be the increase in demand for his program in all areas of the United States and the world. So go “Catch a Dollar.” But if you miss it, don’t miss out on the world-changing idea by Dr. Yunus with his book Banker to the Poor.