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Community Based Research: Androscoggin Bank Bates College Winter 2010 Prof. Elizabeth Eames T.A. Chomba Kaluba ‘10 Gulaid Abdullahi ‘13, Diane Brackett.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Based Research: Androscoggin Bank Bates College Winter 2010 Prof. Elizabeth Eames T.A. Chomba Kaluba ‘10 Gulaid Abdullahi ‘13, Diane Brackett."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Based Research: Androscoggin Bank Bates College Winter 2010 Prof. Elizabeth Eames T.A. Chomba Kaluba ‘10 Gulaid Abdullahi ‘13, Diane Brackett ‘11, Kelly Coyne ‘13, Leah Elsmore ‘12, Josh Fancy ‘12 William Fearnley ‘13, Molly Gardner ‘11, Andrew Grant ‘13, Kenji Hayata ‘13, Ben Horn ‘12 J.B. Israel ‘11, Carter Kindley ‘11, Desmond Mushi ‘13, Cheri-Ann Parris ‘13, Frangely Ventura ‘11 African Immigrants’ Attitudes Towards Money & Banking

2 Course Objectives for ANTH 228: Person and Community in Contemporary Africa Understand fundamentals of a distinctive moral philosophy (including tensions & contradictions) Relative emphasis on communal ownership & collective responsibility affects attitudes towards resource allocation, wealth accumulation, individualism, power Learn cultural sensitivity, adopt methodological flexibility, tolerate ambiguity Find consistent cultural matrices within informal conversational speech Discern patterned interactions behind seemingly spontaneous behavior Make recommendations to Androscoggin Bank Convey implications of our findings on how the recently resettled may deal with the power and danger of money, with saving, borrowing, & investing Propose what a mutual adaptation between the New Mainers and L/A’s formal banking system might look like

3 CBR: Methodology WHAT: Interviews and observation-based research WHO: Interviewers: Bates students 3 groups conducted 15 interviews Each group had at least one student who has lived in Africa Interviewees: Ethnic Somalis Somali Bantus Immigrants from 5 other sub-Saharan countries

4 Methodology WHERE: downtown Lewiston Bates College library 30 hours of interviews ANALYSIS: shared findings determined overarching themes re: banking

5 Background info on Africans in L/A Motivations for migration: PUSH Poverty Danger/political instability at home PULL Economic Education Social/political conditions

6 Background Many African immigrants first traveled through other countries/states before settling in Lewiston Some immigrants followed their spouses or close kin Lewiston seen as a haven for its: low crime rates affordable housing good schools African community

7 More about immigrants “Even the cows are different here…” Large, extended families the younger generation is expected to take care of elders Tight-knit communities sense of kinship, trust practice of intracommunity aid Emphasis on personal rather than professional/impersonal relationships Immigrant-owned stores largely cater to the Somali community

8 Remaining key points Anti-immigration movement in 2002 white supremacist demonstration & counter-demonstration Many Immigrants are open to assimilation but like to stay within tight-knit community children born in America more readily assimilate

9 Significant cultural issues: Overview Importance of personal connection Banking etiquette Rotating savings societies Charitable giving Avoiding usury Attitude towards accumulation Financial needs Saving Paying bills Remittances Borrowing for: Education Housing Business Travel

10 Religion: Islam FIVE PILLARS 1. Shahadah: Belief in one G-d and Muhammad as the prophet 2. Salat: prayer 5x/day 3. Siyam (Sawm): Fasting for Ramadan 4. Hajj: Pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca 5. Zakat: charity, donation

11 Shari’ah Law - Riba (Interest) Shari’ah = the "way" Muslims should live or the "path" they must follow Where does the money come from? Compliance to usury prohibition may vary

12 Religious terminology Wadiah = custody, safekeeping Mudharabah = profit sharing b/w investor and entrepreneur Bai ’ Bithaman Ajil (BBA) = Deferred payment sale Murabahah = Cost plus Musyarakah = Joint venture/partnership to make profit Ijarah Thumma Bai ’ = Hire purchase Wakalah = agency Hibah = gift

13 African expectations of the Bank Some are financially literate while others know very little about banking systems Relationship b/w customer and employee should be personal  Strictly PROFESSIONAL relationships are uncomfortable One interviewee stated, “No one cares about you; it is entirely about the job.”

14 Etiquette Personal relationships regular interaction w/ the same employee(s) Same-sex interactions preferred Many immigrants may have adopted handshakes as a way of greeting, BUT: many Muslims believe that shaking hands is spiritually unclean, and would have to wash themselves prior to worship  allow customers to initiate  Hugs are not likely to be accepted

15 Etiquette Offer the customer a seat, brochures, commodities Show particular respect to elder client If a translator is present, be sure to still devote your attention to the client Look at clients respectfully, but avoid prolonged direct eye contact

16 Etiquette - Clothing Issues mostly pertain to female employees Professional wear is sufficiently modest to allay any fears

17 Etiquette - Documentation Interact with customers before presenting documentation Introduce the contract/document VERBALLY with a thorough explanation Written documentation should be READABLE and CONCISE

18 ROSCAs and Ayuto ROSCA = Rotating Savings and Credit Association an association of community members who make regular contributions to a fund that is given in whole or in part to each contributor in turn  form of credit rotation  based on trust and community  serves as social support network  participants predominantly women  obeys Islamic law

19 ROSCAs in the Somali community: case studies in the UK known as Ayuto or Hagbad in the Somali community 7 to 20 women agree to regularly contribute a fixed amount to a fund that is allocated to members in rotation joining a Hagbad requires commitment/obligation because the system is trust based, there is flexibility Order can change based on need

20 Remittances: Overview VERY important part of many immigrant cultures Highly prevalent in Lewiston’s African community Sending money to relatives shows support and gratitude It is almost—if not more—important than providing money for what Americans tend to think of as “one’s own immediate family” Interviewees reported sending $ home to invest (ex: real estate)

21 Remittances in Lewiston Remittances may be sent through a local community member (“unofficial” process) person sending the remittances usually collects a certain amount of $ as a fee Mutual trust ensures that the $ gets to the correct destination

22 Housing Large market, BUT Mortgages = problematic Families try to avoid loans at all costs Many Somali families use a rotating system

23 Education: Loans for college High tuition is problematic for many immigrants in Lewiston Interest-bearing loans = not option for strict Muslims

24 Financial literacy and education Main sources of misunderstanding: language barriers general complexities of the banking system late fees, overdraw fees, etc.

25 Possible solutions re: Education hire part-time translator to explain the system to new customers create a website in multiple languages create brochures in multiple languages outlining the banking system hold financial literacy workshops

26 Recommendations for Androscoggin Bank

27 Hire a Community Liaison The Liaison will: Bring in new clients Show the Bank’s initiative and hospitality Interpret for members of the community who are not proficient in English Help members gain competence in financial matters The Liaison should: Speak Somali, Maay-Maay, and Swahili (ideally) Represent the new immigrant community

28 Role of younger people Many of the younger people speak better English In the absence of a translator, be willing to engage your clients’ children who can help in conversation Respect the age hierarchy as much as possible

29 Shari’ah Compliant Banking Interviewees expressed the importance of owning a home and educating their children, but it is sinful if such things are acquired while KNOWINGLY using interest (money-begetting-money) Some people do not know that American banks are centrally organized around interest People understand that the Bank needs to pay for its operating expenses, so interest may be replaced with fees and then money is considered safe

30 Remittance Since many immigrants send money home to relatives, it would be worthwhile to inform them about transferring $ from one account to another. Shared remittance accounts would make it possible for families in Africa to access money without additional exchange rates and fees. The Bank could establish a money-sending program that sends sums using current exchange rates and small fees. Documentation should be kept to a legal minimum, handled with cultural sensitivity.

31 Financial Literacy Many immigrants have never used a bank before coming to America Even those who have some experience are unsure of how to access the formal financial system Establish financial literacy training programs Liaison could lead these programs

32 More suggestions GIFTING: Consider giving gifts at first meetings, community events, and during religious holidays. POSTERS, MULTILINGUAL ADVERTISEMENTS Lisbon St. establishments Local publications ORAL COMMUNICATION: Install a multi-lingual calling system to provide banking advice

33 Remember this! Although many of the people living in Lewiston are Somali, there are many other Africans of different ethnicities in residence Not all Africans are Muslim, and many local Muslims are not African

34 Closing / Q & A / Discussion Thanks to CJ Conrad, Sallie Wilson, and Paul Anderson of Androscoggin Bank for engaging us in this project.

35 Student researchers Gulaid Abdullahi ‘13 Diane Brackett ‘11 Kelly Coyne ‘13 Leah Elsmore ‘12 Josh Fancy ‘12 William Fearnley ‘13 Molly Gardner ‘11 Andrew Grant ‘13 Kenji Hayata ‘13 Ben Horn ‘12 J.B. Israel ‘11 Carter Kindley ‘11 Desmond Mushi ‘13 Cheri-Ann Parris ‘13 Frangely Ventura ‘11 *TA: Chomba Kaluba ‘10


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