Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Article excerpt

Prize Is a First

It's not every day that a bank executive and his employer are in the same class as Mother Teresa, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, and the Dalai Lama.

But Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker, and his Grameen Bank joined the ranks of those other Nobel Peace Prize winners last week by winning the prize for advancing economic and social opportunities for "the poorest of the poor." It was the first time the Nobel committee gave the award to a financial institution.

The niche bank offers microcredit loans -- mostly to women -- in Bangladeshi villages to jump-start small businesses. It has approved loans to villagers purchasing cows, chickens for an egg business, and mobile phones to start a business where villagers with no phone access pay a small fee to make calls, according to the Associated Press.

For Grameen Bank, "credit is a cost-effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the overall development of socioeconomic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable," the Nobel committee told the AP.

New Leaders

The Consumer Bankers Association has named executives from two of the largest banks to its top leadership positions.

Cece Hutton, an executive vice president with Wachovia Corp. and the head of its retail and small-business banking operation, was elected chairman of the trade group.

Brendan McDonagh, the chief operating officer at HSBC Holdings PLC's main national bank, was named chairman-elect. Both were elected at an Oct. 7 board meeting and assumed their roles immediately.

Ms. Sutton, who has been with Wachovia for 28 years, has led its retail banking arm for five years and is a member of its corporate operating committee. Previously she led the Charlotte-based company's general banking operations in South Carolina. …

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