Lebanon Businessnews News

How to convert
lollars into fresh money
Central Bank creates special accounts for up to $50,000
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Central Bank Circular

The Central Bank (BDL) has issued a circular detailing the implementation of its decision to allow the conversion into fresh money of funds in foreign currencies (mostly in dollar) held at banks prior to October 2019.

Depositors will be allowed to transfer up to $50,000 to a Special Sub Account (SSA) from their other bank accounts (including accounts shared with others).

Depositors will be able to withdraw up to $400 in dollars per month in addition to its equivalent in lira according to the exchange rate of the Sayrafa platform. The banks are not allowed to charge fees on the SSAs. Depositors may also keep the funds in their bank accounts for future use or withdrawal.

The combined amount in dollar and lira must not exceed the equivalent of $9,600 per year even if the money is withdrawn from different banks.

Depositors qualified to benefit from this decision are those who had opened a foreign currency account (or accounts) before October 31, 2019 based on their balance as on March 31, 2021 provided the balance does not exceed that of October 31, 2019.

The balance must be available at the time of the implementation of this decision which becomes effective on June 30, 2021. Depositors cannot benefit from amounts converted from lira into dollar after October 31, 2019.

The dollar withdrawals could be made in cash or through payment cards that could be used locally and overseas. The money could also be transferred abroad or deposited in a ‘fresh’ dollar account.

Half of the lira withdrawals must be in cash. The other half must be withdrawn through payment cards.

Banks are not allowed to use their customers’ fresh dollar accounts in order to settle SSA withdrawals. They will get half of the required liquidity from their compulsory placements (foreign currency reserves) with BDL. They will secure the other half from their liquidity with their foreign correspondent banks.

Depositors must lift banking secrecy on their SSAs in favor of BDL and the Banking Control Commission. Banking secrecy remains applied on other accounts and towards other parties.
Date Posted: Jun 08, 2021
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