The Markets are Collapsing
Durreen Shahnaz for the Dhaka Tribune
March 27, 2020
Below is an excerpt of the op-ed by Asia 21 Young Leader Durreen Shahnaz, originally published by the Dhaka Tribune on March 22nd, 2020.
Some 30 years ago, I left the money, glamour, and intensity of Morgan Stanley and Wall Street to go back to the land of my birth, Bangladesh. I went to work for a bank for underserved women which provided very small loans that allowed them to start businesses.
The work at Grameen Bank was equally intense in its own way -- walking miles from village to village to collect the weekly loan payments; negotiating with the husbands when they would stop the women from making loan payments; and spending hours teaching the women to sign their names in the sand with a stick (there was very little scrap paper to spare).
When they mastered writing their name, they could, for the first time, sign for their loan with newfound dignity -- instead of having to use a thumb print. This was a financial transaction -- except that it was happening on sand and paper instead of on computers and Bloomberg terminals.