The Conversation: Can Microloans Change the World?

ABC's David Muir talks with Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus.

May 19, 2010— -- Dr. Muhammad Yunus has a vision to change the world, one tiny loan at a time. Yunus is the Nobel Peace Prize-winning creator of the Grameen Bank, an institution that pioneered the concept of "microcredit" to help poor families overcome poverty.

By loaning poor people, particularly women, small amounts of money to start businesses, Yunus hopes to give them the means to make a better life. Yunus says his bank is not a charity, it's a good business -- some 99 percent of microloans are repaid.

Grameen Bank began in the poor, rural villages of Bangladesh, but now it is expanding its efforts in the capital of global finance, New York City.

On Monday, Yunus opened a branch of Grameen Bank in Manhattan, handing out small loans to help some of the smallest businesses in America.

"New York City is the world capital of banking," Yunus said at the branch opening. "They do the banking for the whole world, but they don't do the banking for their neighbors, and we're here to show there's nothing wrong with doing banking with neighbors."

Yunus has also written a new book on his ideas, "Building Social Business," underscoring his beliefs about the type of capitalism that can generate profit and make make the world a better place.

How can a few hundred dollars make a difference to American businesses? And why does Yunus believe microcredit can change the world?

ABC's David Muir asked Dr. Mohammad Yunus those questions and more in today's Conversation.