Rep. Holt has contacted the Bangladeshi government multiple times in recent months to express concern about efforts to remove Professor Muhammad Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank. He has called for an end of the unfounded attacks on Professor Yunus and urged a swift and just resolution to the situation so that Grameen Bank and its staff can focus appropriately on their mission of combating poverty by providing banking services to the poorest of the poor.
The Honorable Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Old Sangsad Region
Dear Prime Minister Hasina:
We write to express strong concern over the Government of Bangladesh's recent dismissal of Professor Muhammad Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank.
With Professor Yunus at the helm, Grameen Bank has played a leading role in a global movement to lift millions of the world's poorest people out of poverty using the innovative microcredit concept that he pioneered. The bank's world renowned success in that effort has helped millions of Bangladeshis rise from poverty and has brought recognition to Professor Yunus, Grameen Bank, and Bangladesh.
Yet, we are troubled by what appears to have been a months-long effort on the part of the Bangladeshi government to discredit Professor Yunus and remove him as Managing Director while increasing government influence at Grameen Bank. These efforts raise concerns about the government's motivations and the impact such efforts may have on the strong and important U.S.-Bangladesh relationship. Additionally, the potential for these actions to have a destabilizing effect on Grameen puts the effectiveness and long-term integrity of the bank and its critical programs at great risk.
Quite simply, it would be very disappointing to see Bangladesh's thriving civil society, microfinance sector, and international reputation negatively affected by actions that stand to damage the integrity of Grameen Bank.
We strongly urge you to work with Professor Yunus to find an amicable solution to this unfortunate situation - one that treats him with the dignity he deserves while preserving the effectiveness and operational dignity of Grameen Bank for the millions of Bangladeshis who depend on it, as well as for your nation's reputation as the home of the microcredit movement.
Richard J. Durbin
Michael F. Bennet
Michael B. Enzi