DHAKA, Bangladesh, March 23 (UPI) -- A senior U.S. official expressed hope for a resolution of a controversy arising from the Bangladesh Grameen Bank's firing of bank founder Muhammad Yunus.
"We remain hopeful that a compromise solution can be reached to the satisfaction of all parties," Robert O. Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, said in Dhaka Tuesday at the end of his four-day visit, CNN reported.
The 70-year-old Yunus, a microfinance pioneer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was removed from his post as managing director of the Grameen Bank by the country's central bank and a high court upheld the central bank's ruling this month. Grameen is now 25 percent state-owned.
The dismissed economist's microfinance campaign, providing small loans to help poor entrepreneurs who would otherwise be ignored by major banks, has been adopted in many countries.
Blake told reporters in Dhaka Yunus "has brought great honor to Bangladesh, and we in the United States have been deeply troubled by the difficulties he is currently facing," CNN reported.
In removing Yunus from his post, the central bank had cited his age under company rules that require people in his post to retire after turning 60.
Supporters of Yunus insist his removal was politically motivated, which the government denies. His critics have said lenders of microcredit are raking in huge profits from small loans.