Some bank branches
to open during lockdown
ATMs, payment cards and
salary payments unaffected
The Association of Banks (ABL) has agreed with the Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni that banks will open some branches to serve the needs of their customers during the lockdown that will end on March 29.
ABL had earlier asserted its previous decision to close all branches during the lockdown and to keep minimum required banking operations at the banks’ headquarters.
That announcement came after Wazni protested the ABL’s decision to close all branches. Wazni had said that the banks could organize working hours in order to provide banking services which are vital. He later said the Cabinet’s decision that the banks will be among the institutions that must remain open during the lockdown must be considered as a report to the public prosecutor who is urged to take action quickly against ABL’s hasty decision to shut down branches without any regard for the interests of citizens.
The Cabinet had said that the Central Bank (BDL), commercial banks, money transfer companies, and foreign exchange businesses will remain open during the lockdown, using a minimum required of their workforce to continue operations.
ABL said it will continue to allow the banks’ customers to withdraw cash in lira from automated teller machines (ATMs) and to use their payment cards as usual.
The banks will continue to provide the required financing for urgent operations of commercial and industrial businesses especially those pertaining to food security, medical equipment and supplies, and other transactions subsidized by BDL, ABL said.
The banks will also continue to allow companies to pay salaries to their employees in lira, whether they are domiciled or not.
ABL said that its decision came in response to the request of the Federation of Syndicates of Banks Employees and is in line with the measures taken by BDL to close its branches and reduce contacts between its employees and citizens.
It said that the 27,000 employees working in the banking sector, like all Lebanese, deserve to ensure their safety and that of their families.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Mar 17, 2020