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Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

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Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. More than four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that’s not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Get banks to fund a microcredit program for poor in the United States

File under: income, microfinance, geneva global, opportunity international, HOPE International, mediamavens.com, enrichment.com

4 (1 votes)

From: Mike S., Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Microcredit (or microfinance) is working in developing countries. Poor, working people (primarily women) are given a small loan, funded by donors through an NGO (non-governmental organization), to operate a small business. This lifts them and their family out of intractable, chronic poverty.

Microcredit hasn't had a real launch in the United States, because the small loans would obviously have to be larger here than what they would be in the developing world.

Let a bank -- e.g., Bank of America -- sponsor a fund that would be targeted to poor, working people in each of the market areas of each branch bank. Monies to loan out would come in through bank customer donations (the bank could appeal to customers to give "x" dollars each month from their checking accounts), and through a percentage of the bank's own monies. The bank would work with one or more acknowledged microfinance agencies for distribution.

The public relations for the bank would be terrific; this could be a customer magnet for new accounts, far offsetting whatever the bank would be doling out.


Comments:

Tina W.
From Minneapolis, MN

Like with many things in the US I would be afraid it would be exploited. However it could work if the people "donating" the money got their money back when the borrower begins paying back the loan. This is how Prosper Marketplace, Inc works. But, I like this idea. Give everyone who wants it a reason to be proud of themselves, and feel good about giving back to their local economy. The biggest problem as I see it, is that you have to use people in order to get ahead these days. This is why I will never have enough to make ends meet. But a bunch of small local businesses who can even barter would be good. A little money is exchanged, a promise to help when needed, and the heart of our communities could be returned too.


American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

Featured Documentary: King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. More than four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that’s not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 02.04.16

    When School Vouchers Are Not a Leg Up

    School voucher programs are controversial because they allow students to use public funds to pay for private school. A new paper is one of the first to show a school voucher program actually lowering student test scores.
  • 01.28.16

    Learning Financial Literacy

    Most teenagers are not learning about personal finance in school, according to an annual survey on financial literacy. Our guest this week says that needs to change.
  • 01.21.16

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    College was once considered the path of upward mobility in this country, and for many people, it still is. But research shows that the higher education system can actually work against poor and minority students, because they often end up at colleges with few resources and low graduation rates.
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