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Somali money transfers are flowing, but future is uncertain

The Star Tribune reports most of the shops have reopened, but they're using out-of-state banks or credit and often refusing to name their new business partners. Many U.S. banks have stopped wiring money to Somalia because they fear they'll violate new federal rules aimed at clamping down on terrorism funding.
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The Star Tribune reports most of the shops have reopened, but they're using out-of-state banks or credit and often refusing to name their new business partners. Many U.S. banks have stopped wiring money to Somalia because they fear they'll violate new federal rules aimed at clamping down on terrorism funding.

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The head of Tawakal Money Express in Minneapolis says emergency wire transfers of less than $500 dollars will be serviced, citing a need for people who say there families in Somalia rely on the funds. Fifteen Minnesota banks halted transfers last week, fearing a violation of terror financing rules.

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Somalis are rallying in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon to protest Sunrise Community Banks decision to halt a money transfer service. The bank fears the service was violating federal rules meant to clamp down on the funding of terrorism. But Somalis both here and abroad say the service is crucial to helping relatives in Somalia and that ending it could trigger a humanitarian crisis.

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The bank that handles most of the money transfers from Minnesota to Somalia plans to shut down the service. Sunrise Community Banks fears the program could be violating federal laws meant to clamp down on funds flowing to terrorist groups. But Somali officials say the money provides an essential lifeline to relatives in the war-ravaged country and that shutting down the service could lead to a serious humanitarian crisis.

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The Fourm of Fargo-Moorhead reports three money transfer brokers are still operating in Moorhead. Sunrise Community Banks ended the wire service to Africa in late December. Banks fear they could unknowingly be violating federal rules against funding terrorism. Minnesota is home to 25,000 Somalians, many of whom send money to Africa to support their families.

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