THE BLOG
03/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Timothy Geithner and his Father's Legacy in Microcredit

One of the most interesting things about the appointment of Timothy Geithner as the head of the Treasury Department is that his entire life prepared him for the world we are living in today. Raised by a father, Peter Geithner, who ran the Microcredit program for Indonesia at the time Obama's mother Ann Dunham Soetero, was becoming one of the Western pioneers in Microcredit (she helped set up what is now considered one of the most successful programs in the world). Geithner's father is now head of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation and Timothy Geithner grew up overseas for much of his childhood, in places such as Zimbabwe, India and Thailand, and later received a degree in Asian Studies. It would have been impossible for him to not have seen what true poverty is and how his father was helping to establish part of the solution. THIS is the kind of man we need helping us through a national financial crisis, one which has spread around the world.

Having met a number of people who are and were contemporaries of Geithner's father at the Ford Foundation, and understanding how, back when he was head of the Indonesia program, Microcredit was still unheard of, says a lot about the kind of man Peter Geithner is. The intelligence and far-thinking, yet extremely concrete focus on helping people out of poverty through small loans, is so very simple. Timothy Geithner knows this. he knows about the extremely high payback rates fro microcredit, how ledning mostly to women really helps families. Obama knows it too. Hillary Clinton spoke about the importance of Microcredit right from the start of her career in the political spotlight, and had the absoulutely brilliant insight to bring a Bangladeshi banker, Muhammad Yunus, over to rural Arkansas, to help establish microcredit there. He went on with his Grameen Bank to win the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

With a group of leaders like these, we will surely see Microcredit become a household word in the United States. Microcredit is a way to bring out the most forceful and positive powers of Capitalism to serve Society.

So I ask our new Treasury chief to please make sure that Microcredit is part of the bailout package for banks, and that true People's banks, those owned by the borrowers and depositors, as Grameen is, be part of the answer to today's problems.