Guerrilla Banking

Many of you may not know who Muhammad Yunus is, or what the Grameen Bank is, but this cat won a Nobel Prize yesterday for his system. Basically, it is a people-powered lending network that allows people to lend others in the community small amounts of money without requiring collateral like traditional loans. Instead, it has kind of a barter system approach, with the theory being that other things besides money have value.

My question is, could we pull this off in our own neighborhoods and communities here? Here are some benefits:

1. The money stays in the community longer and passes through more community members’ hands before leaving it (if it ever does).
2. Since most of the time we probably only need small loans (say, $100 or less) for day-to-day stuff, the anxiety of being in debt will be reduced.
3. It is a great way to combat gentrification.

I think this could really work. Could it?

One Love. One II.



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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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