As previously announced by Banque du Liban (BDL) governor, Riad Salameh, the central bank on Friday formalized an increased conversion rate for "bank dollars," or "lollars," set at LL15,000.
BDL announced the passage of new circulars on Friday afternoon. Their measures will take effect beginning Feb. 1 and concern transactions authorized by Master Circular No. 151 (dated April 21, 2020) and No. 158 (dated June 8, 2021).
Circular No. 151 allows depositors suffering from restricted access to their foreign currency accounts to withdraw small sums — determined by the banks — in Lebanese lira each month at a rate BDL previously set at LL8,000.
Circular No. 158 allows monthly withdrawals of $400 in cash from the same restricted accounts. It also allows for withdrawals of the equivalent sum in lira, converted at a rate of LL12,000 to the dollar.
Annual withdrawals are limited to $4,800 in bank dollars that can be withdrawn in fresh dollars. Another $4,800 bank dollars can annually be withdrawn in lira but only half of this can be withdrawn in cash while the other half can only be used to make card payments.
With Friday's two amendments, the conversion rate of both circulars will be shifted to LL15,000 to the dollar.
BDL also published a third decision with equally heavy consequences.
Beginning Feb. 1, clients of Lebanese banks residing abroad will be forced to repay all foreign currency loans — including personal and housing loans — in fresh dollars.