Minn. Somalis Close Well Fargo Accounts In Money Transfer Protest

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At a mid-town Wells Fargo bank a large group of Minnesota Somalis gathered Friday to remove their money from the bank and protest.

The group says Wells Fargo has been unwilling to work with them to get money to Somalia.

Last December more than a dozen Twin Cities businesses known as Hawalas stopped offering money transfers to the east African Country. They stopped because of provisions aimed at keeping funds out of the hands of terrorists.

“This is a humanitarian crisis,” said Abdirahman Muse, a former Wells Fargo customer. “Hawalas are the only way we can send money to our brothers and sisters. Many people rely on us to put food on the table.”

Wells Fargo stopped working with Hawalas in 2008. Protesters say the big bank now has an opportunity to be a leader and begin providing assistance.

“They are letting our families die,” said Shukri Hassan, a former Wells Fargo customer. “By not letting us work with them our families… brothers and sisters are dying of hunger.”

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo says they hate to see customers leave. A regional leadership team from Minnesota plans to meet with members of the Somali community next week.

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