Somali people in Minnesota who send money to east Africa are concerned that the method they use to transfer funds will soon shut down. If Franklin Bank in the Twin Cities follows through on a plan to stop working with Somali wire transfer services called “hawalas”, Minnesota Somalis will have to find another way to offer financial support to family and friends in a country that is experiencing a crushing famine.
The Franklin Bank is the only local bank that is currently willing to make these transactions, but bank officials recently said they are uneasy with the bank’s level of vulnerability, and have decided to stop offering the service on December 14th.
Hashi Shafi is the director of the Somali Action Alliance. He’s been talking with officials of the Franklin Bank and people in the Somali community, trying to find a solution to this problem. He talked with KFAI’s Dale Connelly about the importance of having a bank involved when sending money to a country that has had no functioning government for the past 20 years.