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Lebanon: Banks Stop USD Withdrawals, Open Transfers to Students Abroad

Lebanon: Banks Stop USD Withdrawals, Open Transfers to Students Abroad

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 - 08:15
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat

Lebanese banks are easing international transfers to students living abroad, head of the Lebanese Association of Banks (ABL) Salim Sfeir announced on Monday.

In a statement, the ABL said banks were “committed to transferring the appropriate amounts of money to Lebanese students residing abroad,” underlining the need to shoulder “national, professional, and humanitarian responsibilities” amid the current circumstances in Lebanon and the fight against the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a source at the ABL told AFP on Monday that Lebanese banks have stopped dollar withdrawals, except for fresh money received directly to depositors from abroad.

A member of the association, speaking on condition of anonymity, said all dollar withdrawals would be halted “pending the airport reopening.”

“Dollars are imported and this is no longer possible because of the coronavirus,” the source told AFP.

Banks have started imposing restrictions on dollar withdrawals since the beginning of the anti-government protests in October. The amount allowed ranged between 200-400 dollars per month, before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni and Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti, during their meeting with Sfeir, stressed “the need to repatriate students” who are studying in virus-stricken countries and “increase the allowed amounts transferred by their families to secure their return.”

Sfeir promised that banks “will start transferring the appropriate amounts to students” starting Monday, March 30.

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