Lebanon Businessnews News

BDL names Ahmad Safa
Al Baraka temporary director
Former director of the bank has stepped down
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The Higher Banking Commission of the Central Bank (BDL) has appointed Ahmad Safa as new temporary director of Al Baraka Bank-Lebanon, according to a media report.

Safa, a former member of BDL’s Banking Control Commission, will replace Charbel Abdallah Moubarak who was named by BDL as temporary director of the bank in the last quarter of 2022.

A senior manager at Al Baraka Bank said that they have not yet been officially notified by BDL of the new appointment and that Moubarak stepped down two weeks ago. The source, who declined to be named, denied the claims of the media report that Moubarak was unable to implement BDL’s circulars especially Circular 158 which allows depositors to withdraw $300 and $400 per month of their foreign currency accounts. He said that Moubarak has been applying the circulars governing returning deposits and has even liquidated some of the bank’s real estate assets to do so.

According to the source, Moubarak could not continue applying these circulars as their bank couldn’t access its deposits with BDL totaling $100 million and because Bahrain-based Al Baraka Group (ABG), which owns Al Baraka Bank-Lebanon, refuses to fund the capital increase required from banks by BDL because it objects to the fact that it couldn’t access the bank’s liquidity with BDL. ABG said in 2022 after the appointment of Moubarak that it “strongly condemns” the action of BDL to “seize control” of Al Baraka Bank-Lebanon. It had said that since the start of the banking crisis they had worked closely with BDL and other authorities to support their liquidity and protect the interests of their customers. ABG had also said: “To this end, Al Baraka Bank-Lebanon had deposited more than 80 percent of its assets, representing customers’ deposits with the Central Bank, which in return refuses to grant access to these funds.”

Al Baraka Bank-Lebanon, whose total assets stood at $365.2 million at the end of 2018, is a shariah-compliant bank. Its parent company ABG, which is listed on the Bahrain Bourse, is managed by Adnan Ahmed Yousif and was founded by late Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel.

BDL had also appointed temporary directors of other banks including Federal Bank of Lebanon, Creditbank, and Banque de Crédit National (BCN). The job of a temporary director, who replaces the board of directors of a bank and its general manager, is to help the bank boost its liquidity and profitability and increase its capital.
Date Posted: May 10, 2024
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