Doug: Andrea, it’s been a pleasure to work with you and professor Yunus in Grameen America over the past three years.Can you tell us a little more about organization and the work that you do in the United States?
Andrea:The Grameen America is the fastest growing largest microfinance organization in the United States.We have served over 130,000 women entrepreneurs and their families in 15 cities.The organization giving out 1.5 billion dollars of loan capital, which is a pretty extraordinary thing in 2008. And hmm…that has been repaid at 99% up until COVID-19. So basically, without any collateral and these are no recourse loans.The trust and the relationships between our staffs and members has yielded an extraordinary program, these are women who prior to Grameen America are unable to access the traditional financial markets.
Doug:Business has been affected very negatively by COVID-19. Business of all sizes.
What is some of the things that you have been doing to support the members themselves from the business resilient perspective?
Andrea:We are waiving all interests on existing loans. Any third party, transaction cost that they’ve had in the past, even if they are small as a dollar to help repay us, we’ve covered those costs. We don't want them to bear them. And then really importantly, we’ve restructured loans, we are giving them more time to repay. We are requiring them to pay less per week. And in some cases, we are issuing an emergency loans to some of the members who just need that bridge to post COVID where they can resume their businesses.
Andrea: The outcome in the magic of the model, are women getting together every single week in groups of 25, 30, 35 and they are getting together to share, to get financial training, to understand the disciplines of repayment and that has been hard of what we've been about since we began here in the United States in 2008.We made the decision that we were going to go virtual and pivot to a 100 percent no contact no meetings model,
which is huge for us, so envision 2,450 zoom meetings with 30 women participating on each one and all the chaos that can come with that, I mean these are members of our group that have probably never participated in conference calls they never mind pass-code pounds before, now 100 percent of our meetings every week are virtual, and if you came to Grameen a few years ago, our members would have to come to our offices to get a check. Luckily, without even thinking about a pandemic we transitioned to a card.So it is a Grameen card that has the rail set up so that the loan can be dispersed onto that card from our major banks, and that allows us to get money to her without seeing her in person. Then without that would be impossible to get back capital access to her. We couldn't have done this without our partner P.M. We had started doing that pre COVID-19 but the adoption is you know,nearly a hundred percent it has to be obviously out of necessity during this time. And we think that that really bodes well for the future.
钟彬娴：这个模型的神奇之处在于，女性每周都会聚在一起，25、30、35人一组，一起分享，进行财务培训，了解还款纪律，这对我们自2008年在美国开始以来的工作来说是非常困难的。我们决定，我们要转向虚拟和线上的一个100%没有接触的会面的模式，这对我们来说是很重大的改变。所以，想象一下2450场zoom线上会议，每场有30名女性参与将带来多少混乱。我的意思是这些是我们的会员但他们可能从来没有参加过这种电话会议，他们可能连密码键都不会用，现在我们每周100%的会议都是线上的，如果你几年前来到格莱珉我们的会员就必须来我们的办公室现场拿支票了。幸运的是，我们甚至没有考虑到这次疫情，而是在此之前就逐渐过渡到了一张卡片。这是一张格莱珉，它设置好了线路，这样贷款就可以从各大银行发放到那张卡上，这样我们就不用现场操作，就能拿到钱了。如果没有这一点，她就不可能获得资金。没有我们的搭档Pay Near Me我们不可能做到这一点。我们在冠状病毒之前就已经开始这么做了。在疫情期间，我们几乎100%运行无现金交易。我们认为这对未来是个好机遇。
Doug:Here in the United States we have something called the payroll protection program, which is a large government stimulus program that many of us remain using as a way of getting short-term loans. Andthey maybe be able to convert to grants.
Obviously a lot of us have been struggle to get this. Again, particularly difficult for your members, what are some of the things that you have been able to help your members out the PPP program, and if so, what have you been able to do?
Andrea:Let me just take this to two faces, because there have been two stimulus packages. And the first package, unfortunately we are not able to help our members. Grameen America itself is not a SB878 lender, so as an institution, didn’t have the ability to participate and gives loans. The second stimulus package I feel great because thanks to BCG’s help, really help us look at what what we are going to do now. Should we apply to a PPP lender or should we do something much more quickly, which is really become an agent, if you would ending a partner, and that is what we are end up doing base on the recommendation and that was done in 48 hours or less. So opportunity fund is a an organization based on in California who was approved to lend. And very quickly they’ve got a phenomenon CEO L.R. and her team they decided that they want to help us. So again overnight we funneled our loans for our members through the opportunity fund and were able to stand up beat application process. You know 6,000 dollars can change a member’s life, 1,000 dollars can change a member’s life and we were able to process that size of loan, which was truly that are just so many tiny businesses that need that kind of power.