The Central Bank’s Circular 158, which allows depositors with foreign currency accounts from before Oct. 17, 2019, to withdraw up to $400 in cash in US currency banknotes and the equivalent of $400 in Lebanese poundss based on BDL’s platform has so far failed to induce most people to take the offer, bankers and experts said.
Circular 158 was supposed to take effect as of July 1, 2021, but most depositors seem reluctant to accept BDL’s offer, citing a number of ambiguities in this circular that needs to be clarified.
The depositors, or most of them, claimed that the banks were not very transparent or forthcoming with their customers, noting that the lenders ask their clients to sign a contract stating that any person who wants to withdraw $400 in cash must freeze his bank account for five years and to lift the banking secrecy on every transaction.
Furthermore, the depositors insisted on more clarification from the banks about the fate of their accounts if the clients declined to use Circular 158.
Not all banks have started implementing the new circular as of July 1, arguing that they needed a few more days to implement this decision, but stressing that the lenders hadve no problem in allowing their customers who meet the conditions to withdraw their money from any branch.
Some of the banks started executing Circular 158, but most have admitted that the majority of the clients who meet the conditions wanted to more information about the new decision.
“Our branches had 1,500 inquiries in the first day but very few people accepted this to sign the terms of the contract. But it is only natural that the customers inquire about Circular 158. The money for this circular is available but we want the customer to sign the contract so he/she can collect the money,” a general manager of a bank told The Daily Star.
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Source: The Daily Star