Twin Cities businesses that help Somali-Americans wire cash to east Africa are again at risk of shutting down.
Merchants Bank of California is closing the accounts of Somali-American money service businesses, or MSBs, by Feb. 6, according to Oxfam.
Merchants handles a majority of MSB accounts, and the bank's decision to close them will cut off a financial lifeline to Somalia, says Oxfam's Scott Paul.
The move will be a hardship to Somali-Americans and their families, says Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.
"This is food, this is school fees, this is vital stuff," Ellison said. "This is not luxury items going through."
Merchants Bank couldn't be reached for comment.
Last June, Merchants Bank notified MSBs that it would close their accounts by late July. But in September the bank agreed to keep the accounts open.