The NPR podcast Planet Money (one of our team’s favorite listens) recently featured a story on Stephen Ranzini, who runs a community bank in Ann Arbor. Stephen’s bank had been given an award for serving the often under-served members of his community, but was confronted by a community member whose demographic needs were not being addressed by the bank.
As it turns out Stephen’s bank is located in part of the country with a huge Muslim population, and this community member said that Muslims are not supposed to pay or receive interest. Naturally, Stephen didn’t think it was possible to offer products, such as mortgages, without charging interest, but was intrigued by the challenge.
Stephen decided to take on the challenge and did his research as he tried to create a financial product that would be conform to his Muslim customer’s religious needs.
It turns out you can create a mortgage without interest. Well… sort of.
You’ll have to give it a listen to this great story from NPR to hear all the details.