Salim Sfeir doesn’t favor
banks to merge currently
Process can be costly
for banks and their employees
Salim Sfeir, Chairman of the Association of Banks, said in a television interview that he is not in favor of bank mergers right now.
“Mergers between banks are difficult. They need a good environment. They are costly for the two merging banks. It is also costly for the employees for the merging banks. This is a decision that the Central Bank (BDL) should take but I don’t see that this is the right time for mergers,” he said.
Sfeir said that liquidity is available and that nothing has changed except that in the past four months, we have been going through a period characterized by a lack of trust.
In response to a question on the possibility of banks stopping to provide dollars he said: “It depends on the circumstances. We do not have problems with any corresponding bank. It is not us who print dollars. The dollar is a foreign currency that is not available in the country. We are bringing it from abroad. It is costing us a lot. It used to be that the incoming dollars were getting here by themselves, now we have to go and get them.”
On debt rescheduling, Sfeir said that there has been nothing official except talk in the press and by some people voicing their economic opinions. “I don’t think that BDL, banks, and the Ministry of Finance will make decisions that are detrimental to the public good,” he said.
Sfeir reassured depositors: “In all past crises that the banking sector had gone through, ever since there were banks in Lebanon, no depositor had been affected. I want to reassure depositors that this will continue in the present and in the future. Our first priority is to defend the interests of depositors,” he said.
Date Posted: Feb 05, 2020