Congressman Smith made the following statement on the Bangladesh Government's interference in the affairs of Grameen Bank:
"By providing microfinance programs that offer small loans at extremely low interest rates, Grameen Bank has given millions of women in Bangladesh and across the globe entrepreneurial opportunities to rise out of poverty. The bank's proven effectiveness and success should be a model for other organizations working to eliminate poverty. Despite the fact they are a minority owner, the Government of Bangladesh has been interfering in the operations of Grameen Bank by forcing the resignation of founder and Nobel Prize winner Professor Yunus, undercutting the authority of the bank's majority owners--the women borrowers, and appointing an outside commission expected to make further changes. These changes could thwart Grameen Bank's tremendous progress in uplifting women in Bangladesh and the good work it does around the world. I urge my colleagues in Congress and the State Department to make clear that America supports Grameen Bank's goals of empowering women and their desire to operate independently."