grace period A discretional time after a payment or delivery deadline during which any specified or expected charges or penalties are waived. A typical grace period would be a week or a month, but it can be any length of time, at the disadvantaged party’s discretion. Grace periods may be allowed where adverse weather has prevented delivery, for example, or where a cheque has been paid into an account ‘on time’ but will only clear after the deadline. It often makes good business sense to offer a grace period to regular customers rather than impose penalties as the short-term gain from a fine could well be offset by the customer taking his or her business elsewhere. In banking, where most activity is electronic, late payment or overdraft fees can be charged automatically. Where there is a reason beyond the customer’s control for such an occurrence, or if it is his or her ‘first offence’, the bank might retrospectively allow a grace period as a gesture of goodwill, and reimburse the account with the fine, or part of the fine, if challenged by the customer. A past grace period offered is not necessarily legally binding in future, unless it is specified in the contract. Grace periods can be important elements in credit ratings, as late payments can count against individuals or organisations, but allowing a grace period could leave no record of any late payments or punishments.
Grameen Bank A corporate microfinance organisation founded in Bangladesh in 1983 by Dr Mohammed Yunus. The ethos of the bank is based on under-utilised skills that are abundant among the poor, especially women. By basing the availability of credit on peer-pressure, borrowers adhere to credit discipline and effectively allow themselves to borrow when they otherwise would not have been eligible. The Grameen Bank also acts like a normal bank, accepting deposits and providing other retail banking services. In 2006 Muhammad Yunus and the bank he founded were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Gregorian calendar The year-numbering system used throughout the world, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Year 1 is treated as being the year Jesus Christ was born. Muslims also use the Hijri system, often in combination with the Gregorian calendar. Positive dates in the Gregorian calendar are often suffixed by ce (Common Era, Current Era or Christian Era) or ad (Anno Domini – Latin: In the year of Our Lord). Negative dates are suffixed by bc (Before Christ) or bce (Before Common Era, Before Current Era or Before Christian Era) and do not have a negative symbol, but do count backwards; that is, 100 bce is earlier than 50 bce. There is no year 0.