Cyprus reduces restrictions on Lebanese banks
All restrictions may be lifted before 2015
Nine Lebanese banks will benefit from two decrees issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) to regulate the activities of foreign banks on the island.
The first decree permits all cashless payments or transfers of deposits/funds from a credit institution for its own account or by the order of an international customer.
All transactions between a credit institution and international customers, as well as all transactions between international customers are permitted, according to the decree.
The decree also allows all transactions between a credit institution and an entity outside of Cyprus, by the order of an international customer or for their own account.
“Although restrictive measures were set by the CBC last year due to the financial crisis in the island, our business with foreign or Lebanese clients investing in Cyprus was not affected negatively,” said Ghassan Khalife, Deputy Manager of BBAC in Cyprus. “Restrictions were on activities with local clients, where we still maintain business with current clients, but we don’t deal with new ones,” he said.
The second decree eases the enforcement of restrictive measures on transactions under Emergency Law of 2013, including the maximum amount of cash withdrawal per person, the cashing of checks, the payment and/or transfer of deposits and funds between banks within Cyprus, and the opening of new bank accounts in the island.
“We expect all restrictions on foreign banks to be lifted before 2015,” said Khalife.
Lebanese banks operating in Cyprus include Byblos Bank, Bank of Beirut, BankMed, Banque Bemo, BBAC, Blom Bank, Crédit Libanais, Lebanon and Gulf Bank, and Banque SBA, the affiliate of Banque Libano-Française.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: Sep 29, 2014