// Banks Springing Up to Serve the Underserved
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« on: Mar 26, 2008 09:40 AM »


Part that relates to Muslims:

Similarly, many of the nation’s almost five million Muslims have special banking concerns that often go unaddressed by mainstream banks. In particular, Sharia, Islamic law, forbids the charging or paying of interest. “This hampers most bank transactions,” said Amjad Quadri, assistant vice president for business development and new markets at the University Islamic Financial Corporation, a bank based in Ann Arbor, Mich. As a result, many Muslims decide to rent rather than buy homes. “And most Muslims only have interest-free checking accounts and credit cards that they pay off at the end of the month,” Mr. Quadri said.

To accommodate special concerns of Muslims, University Islamic, with additional offices in East Brunswick, N.J., and McLean, Va., offers rent-to-own agreements for home buyers, along with savings accounts that offer “profit sharing” rather than interest. (The bank’s profit-sharing rates are competitive with those at other financial institutions.)

This profit-sharing strategy has enabled Haaris Ahmad, a lawyer in Canton, Mich., to earn money in a money market account for the first time. “Now, my wife and I get the same benefits that other people have, but in a way that’s compliant with our faith requirements,” Mr. Ahmad said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/08/business/yourmoney/08money.html
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