Bangladesh Ousts Nobel Laureate From Job
Muhammad Yunus ordered to leave as head of his bank
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2011 8:45 AM CST
Nobel Peace Prize winning Bangladeshi professor of economics and founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus speaks during a press conference in the Palace of Arts in Budapest in this July 7, 2010 photo.    (Peter Kollanyi)

(Newser) – Bangladesh's government fired Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus as head of his microfinance bank today—an ignominious exit for a renowned activist whose revolutionary idea of giving out small loans lifted many out of poverty. Bangladesh's central bank ordered the 70-year-old's removal from his position as managing director, arguing that he violated the country's retirement laws by staying on as Grameen Bank's head well past the mandatory retirement age of 60, said an official. Grameen says the normal retirement rule does not apply to it because the bank is run under a special 1983 law.

Yunus founded the bank three decades ago, pioneering the concept of reducing poverty by making tiny loans to the poor. His work, which spurred a boom in such lending across the developing world, earned him and the bank the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Recently, Yunus has been under pressure at home: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused Grameen Bank and other microfinance institutions of charging high interest rates and "sucking blood from the poor borrowers," but Yunus remains a hero to the poor. Click for the full story.