Isabella Kap, 8, helps her grandmother at the laundromat in Long Beach, where members of the large Cambodian community often lend money to one another through informal groups rather than use banks. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
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.
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