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Economic Crisis

Banque du Liban suspends decision permitting US dollar deposit withdrawals at LL3,900 rate


Banque du Liban suspends decision permitting US dollar deposit withdrawals at LL3,900 rate

Prior to BDL’s decision, dollar deposits in banks were withdrawable at a rate of LL3,900 on amounts up to $5,000 per month. (Credit: João Sousa/L’Orient Today)

BEIRUT — Banque du Liban has suspended the decision that permits commercial banks to allow customers to withdraw US dollar deposits at an exchange rate of LL3,900.

The suspension follows the State Shura Council’s provisional ruling against a BDL circular allowing commercial banks to settle dollar deposits at the exchange rate of LL3,900 to the dollar, instead of settling them in hard currency.

The ruling, issued by the highest administrative court in the country, followed an appeal filed three months ago by three lawyers: Pascal Daher, Charbel Chbeir and Jessica Kousaifi.

Halim Berti, a spokesperson for Banque du Liban, told L’Orient Today that commercial banks will settle dollar deposits at the official rate of LL1,500 to the dollar. At this rate, depositors would receive an 88 percent haircut on their deposits. 

Salim Sfeir, the general manager of Bank of Beirut and the head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, has previously said that commercial banks combined have a negative net foreign assets position, meaning that they are short on foreign currency and therefore cannot pay depositors in dollars.

ABL could not be reached on Wednesday evening for comment.

Earlier today, BDL announced it was preparing an appeal so that the state’s council can reverse its decision.  

Prior to BDL’s decision, dollar deposits in banks were withdrawable at a rate of LL3,900 on amounts up to $5,000 per month. Any amount exceeding that cap would be handed out at the official peg of LL1,507.5 to the dollar. Thus, depositors were receiving haircuts on their deposits by withdrawing a depreciating currency.

On March 24, BDL had renewed the decision to allow US dollar depositors to withdraw their funds at the rate of LL3,900 until the end of September.


BEIRUT — Banque du Liban has suspended the decision that permits commercial banks to allow customers to withdraw US dollar deposits at an exchange rate of LL3,900.The suspension follows the State Shura Council’s provisional ruling against a BDL circular allowing commercial banks to settle dollar deposits at the exchange rate of LL3,900 to the dollar, instead of settling them in hard...