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NY Times: Bank of Ann Arbor caters to Muslim customers

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muntrv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:13 PM
Original message
NY Times: Bank of Ann Arbor caters to Muslim customers
A Hometown Bank Heeds a Call to Serve Its Islamic Clients
ANN ARBOR, MICH.

Until a stranger without an appointment showed up one day in late 2001, Stephen L. Ranzini was feeling rather pleased with himself. University Bank here, which he led as president, had just won a national award for community service. The honor attested to Mr. Ranzinis success in working with local black ministers and a nonprofit agency to increase home-ownership in African-American neighborhoods.

Then, disturbing the aura of satisfaction, a well-dressed man arrived and insisted on seeing the president. If your bank is so outstanding for community service, the visitor said, as Mr. Ranzini recently recalled, how come youre not servicing my community?

What community, the banker asked, would that be?

Im a Muslim, the man responded.

Mr. Ranzini started to explain that University Bank already had plenty of Muslim customers, hardly a surprise in a college town in the area of southeast Michigan with the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States.

That answer did not satisfy the visitor. Those Muslims, he said, were paying or earning interest.

So what? Mr. Ranzini said. Wasnt interest sort of the whole point of what banks did?

Over the next 10 minutes, Mr. Ranzini, a Roman Catholic executive who had grown up in the vanilla suburbs of New Jersey, started an education that would ultimately transform an otherwise conventional hometown bank into a national leader in the growing specialty of Islamic finance. This year, the bank won an award from the American Bankers Association largely for its service to Muslim clients.

University Bank now has an entire subsidiary devoted to finan

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/07/us/07religion.html?_r...
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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. Isn't that just getting around usury
and shouldn't usury laws apply to other religious (including Jewish and Christian) customers as well?
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. They pay the same amount, they just eliminate the "interest" by adding it to the total house price.
There is no monetary difference
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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. That is what I was implying
It is simply getting around using the word "interest" but they are still paying it.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Precisely
Arab-Americans tend to be less conservative when it comes to strict interpretation of Islamic law. This satisfies the requirement, if in a minimal sense.
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Bread and Circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:31 PM
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3. is this supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing? or a who cares thing?
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Jeep789 Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. The real question is: Does the bank think it is fooling Muslims
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 07:43 PM by Jeep789
or do the Muslims using it think they are fooling Allah?
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Bread and Circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. This is typical of religious groups. They set up...
a bunch of standards that nobody, not even themselves can truthfully live by. They then decide which rules they want to break and then find some "church friendly" way to break them. With no apparent sense of irony, they then stone, behead, and berate others who don't live up to their code.

God almighty, Muslims, Christians, and Jews all drive me nuts with their hypocrisy.
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Eryemil Donating Member (958 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. Meh. Catering to stupid, religious sensibilities. I hope it's good for business at least
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