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Small bank sold to Liberians with Twin Cities ties

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The sale of a small bank in Minnesota will continue helping Liberians create small businesses in their home country.

Last week, Minneapolis-based humanitarian-aid group American Refugee Committee sold its Liberian microfinance bank, Liberty Finance, LLC to DCRB Investments, according to Mshale.

DCRB is a group of Liberian professionals with strong ties to the Twin Cities, including partner Wynfred Russell, who lives in Brooklyn Park and serves as a planning commissioner, MPR News says. Russell's other partners returned to Liberia to help their country get back on its feet after years of unrest.

ARC went to Liberia in the height of the Liberian civil war. After emergency operations ended, ARC stayed and helped. In 2005, ARC established Liberty Finance as the microfinance answer to Liberia's reconstruction and to help entrepreneurs become self-sufficient, Front Page Africa says. The bank offers low-interest loans averaging $250 to refugees who are returning to their country.

The bank has helped low-income Liberians build open-market stands, hair shops and other small businesses, MPR says.

The sale of the bank will wrap up ARC's activities in Liberia – which is a good thing. Therese Gales, communications director at ARC, told Mshale that when they close operations in a country it means things are going back to normal. The country still suffers from endemic poverty and unemployment, but it is considered much safer now, MPR reports.

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