One of the powerful experiences I’ve had in visiting the HOPE International’s work has been attending a community bank meeting. This is a constant marvel to me. Clients (borrowers) from the Dominican Republic to the Congo to India gather typically twice a month to make payments on their loans while learning something that will help build their businesses and/or their families.
Now here’s the amazing thing – loans are paid back at a rate of 98.5% plus. People who live in sometimes desperate poverty walk up to the table (as in the picture below) and make their $5, $7 or $10 payment, with a smile – doing business just like you or me. It’s something we take for granted. To them it’s something almost sacred; there is a deep gratitude for the opportunity to be entrusted with money.
We look at a bank (or credit union) as a place we store money, take out loans, pay loans and of course we often take it for granted because it’s always been that way. The fellow in the doorway of the photo is Tom Hunt a HOPE partner and supporter of Homes for Hope. Tom is a banker here in the USA. He simply marveled at Banks of Hope – “this is amazing; these good people really are banking for their lives. They get it. We could use some of this attitude in America.”
Think about your life without one loan. Then let’s all be grateful for what we do have and think of ways we can make opportunities for others – not just around the world but in the community we live in.