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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 

Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.

2020Talks - September 30, 2020 

Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

A Country without Credit?

June 20, 2008

Seattle, WA – Imagine doing your banking without a bank . . . In Indonesia, there are more than 50,000 microfinance institutions, none of them with much money, and all making small loans to families and tiny businesses. Mercy Corps, the Northwest-based humanitarian aid organization, has gotten a major grant to train these lenders, and create one large umbrella bank to help them modernize.

Sasha Muensch of Mercy Corps says in a country where more than half the people are poor, ATMs, credit, and savings accounts are almost unheard-of.

"They're not accessible to many of the poor of the country. Even in the U.S., if you don't have good credit, if you don't have a strong enough income, you can't access many banking services here; and the problem is even more acute in Indonesia."

Mercy Corpsis perhaps best known for providing disaster relief assistance, but Muensch says this is a crisis of a different kind.

"In Indonesia, half the population lives on less than two dollars a day. The situation is critical; the need for financial services to help people take care of their families, increase their businesses, and just survive, is vital."

Muensch says the goal is to bring millions of people out of poverty by helping them manage and save money and grow their businesses. Mercy Corps has helped set up micro-loan programs in several other countries. The $19 million grant is from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here in Washington.

For more information about the "Bank of Banks" online, visit

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA