Somali-Americans in Minnesota say time is running out to resolve longstanding difficulties wiring money to relatives in east Africa.
A California bank that's one of the last to work with Somali-American money wiring firms says it's getting out of the business late next month.
Many banks say tough laws aimed at thwarting terrorism financing make providing the service too risky.
Said Malin, owner of a money-wiring business in Minneapolis, was one of several dozen Somali- Americans demonstrating over the issue outside a U.S. Treasury Department office in St. Paul Friday.
Malin says if the department doesn't ease up on some of its rules, a financial lifeline to his homeland could be cut off.
"It's very tough to find another bank," Malin says. "So we're trying to find another bank, but if [we] can't find another bank, then we'll be out of business."
Congressman Keith Ellison also joined the demonstration. The DLFer said he's hopeful Congress will make it easier for Somali-Americans to send money to relatives in east Africa.
Ellison has sponsored legislation that would streamline some related bank regulations. The House passed the bill last month and it's awaiting Senate action. Ellison said efforts to stop dirty money are hurting law-abiding people.
"We have been so aggressive at anti-money laundering and and anti-terrorism financing, that we're choking off any money at all," Ellison said.
In a statement, the Treasury Department says it's engaged in ongoing communication with the Somali-American community and the financial institutions that serve it.