Minn. bank must close hawala accounts if no remedy

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2011 4:52 PM
Minn. bank must close hawala accounts if no remedy

The bank that handles most of the wire transfers Minnesota's Somali community send to relatives back home says that without legal relief, it must close its accounts with the money transfer companies next week.

Sunrise Community Banks in Minnesota plans to close its accounts with the hawalas Dec. 30 out of fears it is at risk of violating rules designed to clamp down on terror financing.

In a statement Friday, the bank says it is working with lawmakers, the Somali community and other groups to come up with a new solution to satisfy complex laws dealing with remittances to Somalia.

An unknown number of Somalis depend on small remittances sent from family members in the U.S. Even small amounts can make the difference between a dignified life and homeless poverty.