Lebanese banks close again after blockades by depositors seeking their own money

BEIRUT, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Lebanese banks have unanimously decided to close their doors to customers indefinitely after a series of blockades by depositors seeking funds frozen in the banking system due to the financial crisis in the world. country, two bankers told Reuters.

Banks will continue urgent operations for customers and back-office services for businesses, the bankers said, but front-office services will remain suspended after more than a dozen lockdowns in less than a month.

Banks closed for about a week last month under similar circumstances, but reopened in early October to allow employees to withdraw their salaries.

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The Lebanese Banks Association has previously called on the government to introduce formal capital controls to replace informal bank controls passed in 2019, but parliament has repeatedly failed to pass the law.

The government has made little progress toward reforms that would unlock an International Monetary Fund bailout to help ease a crisis caused by decades of waste and corruption.

Now in its third year, Lebanon’s financial collapse has sunk the currency by more than 90%, spread poverty, crippled the financial system and frozen depositors of their savings in Lebanon’s most destabilizing crisis since the civil war. from 1975-90.

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Reporting by Timour Azhari Editing by David Goodman and Nick Macfie

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