The Grameen Bank, the world's first microfinance lender, will open its first UK branch in Glasgow later this year, according to founder Muhammad Yunus.
Yunus said his organisation planned to make microloans to financially excluded people in Scotland to help them set up their own businesses using a model similar to the one used in Bangladesh, where the microfinance model was invented.
The model has already been piloted successfully in New York, where the bank made loans of about $1,000 or $1,500 to poor people who were interested in setting up their own businesses, he said yesterday during a lecture at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts in London.
"We will lend only to people under the poverty line," he said. "We will provide loans only for them to engage in profit-making activity.
"We were told that it would not work in industrialised countries, but it does. In New York, we have a repayment rate of 99.3 per cent."
The Grameen Scotland programme will be run together with Glasgow Caledonian University.