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Somalis protest by closing bank accounts

A group of Twin Cities Somalis are frustrated with banks no longer willing to transfer money to Somalia. In response, Somali-American customers are removing their money and closing bank accounts. They want banks to restore the wire service to Africa. Banks fear the money transfers could violate anti-terror regulations.
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A group of Twin Cities Somalis are frustrated with banks no longer willing to transfer money to Somalia. In response, Somali-American customers are removing their money and closing bank accounts. They want banks to restore the wire service to Africa. Banks fear the money transfers could violate anti-terror regulations.

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Related

Money transfer businesses still serving Somalis

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.

Minnesota Somalis threaten to pull money from banks

Hundreds of Somalis gathered in Minneapolis Saturday urging lawmakers and banks to find a resolution so they can continue to send money to loved ones in East Africa countries. Some banks have stopped the service with concerns the money is going to help terrorist organizations. As many as 500 Somali Minnesotans have threatened to close their accounts without a solution.

Somalis prepare protest, say end of money transfers will devastate country

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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Minnesota Somalis are worried after news that the money transfer company that handles most of the community's transactions with Somalia is shutting down amid fears that it may have a hand in routing cash to terrorists. Federal officials say Somalis in America send $100 million a year back to relatives in Somalia, which lacks a formal banking system.

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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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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 director of an Islamic center in Minneapolis says members will close their accounts on May 1 if Wells Fargo doesn't reopen money transfers to the war-torn country, where many Somalis rely on money from friends and family in the United States. The bank decided to shut down transfers to Somalia in 2008. "Really, all I can say is that it was a business decision that was made," a bank spokeswoman tells the Minnesota Daily.

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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.