British Universities Film & Video Council

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Banking the Unbanked

Synopsis
Ever since microfinance entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, microfinance projects have played a growing role in international development. For executives like Reliance Financial CEO Baboucarr Khan and COO Ismaila Faal, the field offers opportunities to raise people out of poverty - and to make money. BANKING THE UNBANKED is a verité documentary that follows Khan, Faal and other members of the Gambia-based Reliance team as they try to build the bank into a viable West African financial institution. Their target clients: those who make under five dollars a day - taxi drivers, small shopkeepers, seamstresses, fishermen.

Running the company weighs heavily on Khan. We see his frustration when construction on a new branch is not only sloppy but also behind schedule. And he is taken to task by the board of directors for an outburst against the Central Bank of Gambia - Reliance’s regulator - after it issues a scathing report on some of the bank’s practices. Meanwhile, members of the Reliance senior management team participate in an executive leadership program run by a Dutch university. As Reliance falters, microfinance consultant Craig Feinberg urges a harder line on defaulting creditors - and suggests the possibility of getting out of small loans altogether, concentrating instead on wire transfers and foreign exchange. The film captures the tension and drama in the surprisingly cut-throat world of microfinance - a world where many small loans add up to a whole lot of money. Can promoting development by lending to those at the bottom of the economic ladder co-exist with the need to provide investors with attractive rates of return?
Language
English
Country
Netherlands
Year of release
2010
Year of production
2010
Subjects
Development studies; Economics; Geography
Keywords
Africa; banking; debt; developing countries; financial institutions; Gambia, The; microcredit

Credits

Director
Sarah Vos

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 1 NTSC
Price
$390.00
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
56 minutes
Year
2011

Distributor

Name

Icarus Films

Email
mail@icarusfilms.com
Web
http://icarusfilms.com/ External site opens in new window
Phone
+1 718 488 8900
Fax
+1 718 488 8642
Address
32 Court Street
21st Floor
Brooklyn
NY 11201
USA
Notes
A US distributor with an extensive collection of mainly independently-made documentary films from around the world on social, arts and humanities topics. Dedicated to distributing films about people and ideas too often unseen or unheard. Not all titles are for sale on DVD or digital streaming outside the US. Previouslyknown as First Run/Icarus Films.

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