Borrower-directors of Grameen Bank elected finally

Borrower-directors of Grameen Bank elected finally
Nine borrowers of Grameen Bank have finally been elected directors of the board of the microcredit lender, over three and a half years past their predecessors finishing their terms.

“We have conducted the election as per rules. Now, the full board has taken charge,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters at the secretariat yesterday.

The election to the board had been delayed for long for a case, Muhith said.

The three-tier election – held at branch, area and zonal (constituency) levels – took place in July and the nine directors, all women, were elected on July 31, said Md Mosaddake-Ul-Alam, deputy managing director of the state-run Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, who acted as the chief election commissioner. 

Earlier this year, the government amended the electoral rules of Grameen Bank for the third time in four years after its previous attempts to elect the nine directors from borrowers failed due to opposition of the microcredit lender.

Following the amendment, the finance ministry appointed Alam as the CEC in April and the commission was formed in May after the board nominated Md Balayet Hossain and AKM Moktadur Rahman, both general managers of Grameen Bank, as commissioners.

Baby Begum was elected for a three-year term from Chittagong constituency, Hasina from Comilla, Shamima Akhtar from Sylhet, Nurunnahar from Mymensingh, Mst Khaleda Begum from Tangail, Nuronnahar from Rangpur, Samena from Bogra, Bela Rani Benarjee from Jessore and Mukul Chowdhury from Barisal, according to Alam and Hossain.

The Grameen Bank board is a 13-member body. Nine members are directly elected by shareholders and borrowers, while the rest, including the chairman, are nominated by the government.

The managing director is also a member of the board as an ex-officio member. Currently, the board is led by K Mozammel Haque, while Suraiya Begum, currently information commissioner, and Shah A Sarwar, managing director of IFIC Bank, are government-appointed directors. 

The three government-appointed directors had been running the bank since February 2015 after the tenure of the then nine elected directors came to an end.

The government owns 25 percent share of the microcredit lender, while the rest is owned by the borrower-shareholders. At the programme at the secretariat yesterday, Babul Saha, acting managing director of Grameen Bank, handed over a cheque of Tk 6.24 crore in dividend to the finance minister for 2017.

Muhith said earlier Grameen Bank used to give small loans, but now it is giving much bigger loans. 

“It has increased the bank's profit.  As a result, the government is getting some dividend every year.”
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