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Record No: Res 31578    Version: Council Bill No:
Type: Resolution (Res) Status: Adopted
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
Final Action: 5/8/2015
Ordinance No:
Title: A RESOLUTION reaffirming the City of Seattle's support of Somali communities to continue remittances to Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
Sponsors: Bruce Harrell
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Mayor Transmittal Memo, 3. Proposed Substitute (added 5/8/15), 4. Signed Resolution 31578
CITY OF SEATTLE
RESOLUTION _________________
title
A RESOLUTION reaffirming the City of Seattle's support of Somali communities to continue remittances to Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
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WHEREAS, Merchants Bank of California closed down the accounts of all Somali-American Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) on February 6, 2015 due to federal government action and this has devastating consequences for the tens of thousands of Somalis in our country; and,
WHEREAS, Somalia's dependence on remittances is exacerbated by the lack of a credible functioning commercial banking system, and the existing Central Bank of Somalia has limited relationships with foreign banks and other commercial banking services; and,
WHEREAS, over the past few years, MTOs have found it increasingly difficult to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations; and,
WHEREAS, every year Somalia receives approximately $1.3 billion in remittances and more than 730,000 people in Somalia are dependent on financial assistance for survival. Funding from remittances accounts for basic needs including food, water, shelter and education. One in every five children in Somalia dies before their fifth birthday, and only 30 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water; and,
WHEREAS, remittances are crucial in the empowerment of women entrepreneurship in Somalia, as many banks will not provide loans to women entrepreneurs who have no savings of their own because they are considered riskier loan recipients than men; and,
WHEREAS, the closing of authorized money remittance companies due to federal action contributes to the increase and proliferation of illicit dealers; and,
WHEREAS, banning money transmittals may swell rates of unemployment, poverty and other socioeconomic challenges in Somalia that make youth vulnerable to street gangs and push families apart; and,
WHEREAS, remittances sent from overseas help pay tuition for a maj...

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