If you’ve ever been to a Cambodian-owned doughnut shop, fried chicken restaurant or jewelry store, there’s a good chance it was financed by a tontine.
In Cambodia, “tontine” is the name given to a rotating savings and credit association, or ROSCA, an ancient practice that has different versions all over the world. The general concept is that by contributing to a monthly pool that pays a lump sum to a single member, people can make and receive loans as well as earn interest on savings.
The lending circles are especially prevalent in the Cambodian community, where many people don’t use banks because of language barriers and a distrust of institutions caused by genocide and economic instability in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
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