chapter  3
19 Pages

The Win–Win Myth

In four-five years’ time I expect there will be very few multicultural families on Tøyen Street. That almost exclusively Norwegians from the ethnic majority will live here, like in Grünerløkka.1

The man behind this prediction is Shahzad Yaqub, founder and financial adviser at the company FinansInvest. Shahzad is a graduate of the Norwegian Business School BI, and has worked in banking and real estate. In both industries, he came into contact with people who were reluctant to apply for loans due to language problems. Many had difficulties buying and selling property. With two colleagues, Shahzad therefore began to explore the possibility of establishing a financial advisory service for immigrants. The response was good and in 2006 the partners opened their office on the ground floor of a brand new mosque. Built by the Central Jamaat-E Ahl-E Sunnat congregation, it is located two blocks away from Tøyen Street and has about 5,000 members. Many of FinansInvest’s customers are Muslim, which has led the company to initiate dialogues with a few of the banks they cooperate with on opportunities for developing financial products that are compatible with Islamic law (on Islamic banking, see Messmann 2012, Hunt-Ahmed 2013).