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Lebanon Top Banking Official: Operations to Fully Resume when Crisis Ends

Lebanon Top Banking Official: Operations to Fully Resume when Crisis Ends

Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 18:15
Demonstrators shout slogans during ongoing anti-government protests at a highway in Jal el-Dib, Lebanon, October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A senior Lebanese banking official hoped on Thursday the country's political crisis would end soon and that banking operations would fully resume when it does.

"Once normalcy is restored, we are very confident that we can resume servicing our customers in full capacity," Salim Sfeir, chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and of Bank of Beirut told Reuters.

Banks have remained shut for six working days as protesters flood Lebanon's streets demanding the government's resignation.

President Michel Aoun said he was ready for dialogue with protesters, who blame the political elite for economic hardship and corruption. He suggested a government reshuffle was possible.

The rallies have gone on for a week despite the government announcing reforms to try and defuse them.

The Association of Banks said earlier Thursday they would remain closed on Friday to protect customers, employees and properties.

In a statement, the Association urged a political solution to the crisis and "reassured citizens that the banks are ready to resume their work as soon as the situation stabilizes."

Bank operations will be limited to providing month-end wages via ATMs, the statement added.

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