Ahead of Midnight Closure, Money Transferors Establish Bank Relations in Washington State

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With local bank accounts closing midnight Thursday, Minnesota-based Somali Financial Services Association (SFSA) got a break Wednesday in Washington state that would allow them to use state banks for their wiring services in lieu of national banks.
“This is great news for us and for our customers, and we hope to replicate that here in Minnesota,” said Garad Nor, the chairman of SFSA, whose money wiring association has branches all over the country.

The deal would to admit SFSA branches in Washington to use state and local banks for sending money to international destinations. Nor says state and local banks have the technical capacity to wire money just as the national banks do.

As of midnight Thursday, Minneapolis-based TCF is severing its ties to almost all money wiring services, widely used by immigrants for monthly remittances to their families, because of tough federal regulations. Other banks, including U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, have already closed accounts for money wiring services.

“Though we really hoped to continue doing business with TCF and other banks, we’ve to move where our business interests take us,” said Nor.

He also said that none of the dozen or so money wiring companies in SFSA will halt business as a result of TCF’s closure tonight.

But he asserts that there are efforts in Minnesota to reach a deal similar to that of Washington state and eventually reopen accounts with national banks.

Promises to fix and calls to take an action on problems facing money tranferors became a signature issue for hopefuls of political offices in Minnesota to cajole the growing vote of the immigrant communities. Kennedy, Ellison and Reichgott Junge have all issued statements about the issue.

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