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From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.
This week, Bangladesh’s parliament passed a law that brings the Grameen Bank under control of the central bank. Grameen means rural, or village, in the Bangla language. Women directors of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh had promised to protest government moves to control the bank. Nine of the bank’s 12 voting directors are village women. They recently condemned the new law at Grameen Bank’s headquarters in the capital, Dhaka. The Grameen Bank Bill of 2013 gives Bangladesh’s central bank the power to appoint three bank directors. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent the bill to parliament last week. The current directors questioned the government’s right to seize control of the bank. They warned that this would destroy the successful operation of a bank owned mostly by low-income women. The directors also called for future protests. Grameen was the first bank to make small loans to low-income people. The bank now has more than 8 million members. Bangladeshi economist Mohammad Yunus started the bank in 1976. Micro lending quickly spread around the world. In 2006, the Grameen Bank and Mr. Yunus jointly won the Nobel Prize. A documentary shown in Norway in 2010 raised questions about the bank’s practices. After the documentary, the Nobel Prize committee expressed support for the bank and for Mr. Yunus, but the Bangladesh government began efforts to oust him. Critics of the government say the campaign against the Grameen Bank and Mr. Yunus began in 2007 when he suggested he might run for office to answer problems with corruption in Bangladesh.