Lebanon and Cyprus enhance banking relationship. Local Banks seen as contributors to the Cypriot economy

Lebanon and Cyprus enhance banking relationship
Local Banks seen as contributors to the Cypriot economy
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Bankers from Lebanon and Cyprus discussed their bilateral banking relationship, last Friday and Saturday at the first Cyprus-Lebanon Banking Meeting, held in Limassol by the Association of International Banks - Cyprus.

The meeting aimed at launching a dialogue between the banking systems of both countries to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation.

“Lebanese Banks must continue their operations and plans to help Cyprus’ economy to recover,” said Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank (BDL).

“The meeting discussed technical issues, including foreign trade through correspondent banks and project financing for a later stage,” said Lebanese delegate Imad Itani, General Manager, Head of Group Retail Banking at Bank Audi.

In a final statement, participants agreed on several issues. The Central Bank of Cyprus will provide the BDL with a roadmap to resolving obstacles in transfers and other banking constraints.

“Constraints include, among others, some restrictions on in-and-out transfers, or transfers among banks,” said Itani. He said that the Cypriot Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades confirmed during the meeting that “these restrictions are temporary in the light of the economic crisis in Cyprus. Some of them have been stopped and others will be resolved in the upcoming months.”

A bilateral committee will be established, to follow up on the agreement in terms of coordination of the banking and financial sectors in Cyprus and Lebanon.

The control authorities of both countries will cooperate in implementing cautious constraints and control measures, including measures of Anti-Money Laundering.

Nine Lebanese bank branches, as well as two Cypriot banks owned by Lebanese banks, already operate in the Cyprus market, according to the BDL.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
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Date Posted: Feb 17, 2014