New banking scandal in Lebanon?
Nothing could be more reassuring to bank customers than to maintain the confidentiality of their transactions. However, it seems that there is a banking scandal in Lebanon, where a number of banks are providing information on debtors to other parties. This represents a disaster that might threaten the banking system in Lebanon, reduce its credibility and raise fears among dealers with Lebanese banks.
The Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, said last week in the monthly meeting with the representatives of the Lebanese Banks Association that “This information is serious”. Also, he said that there was some information obtained by some Credit Reporting organizations on debtors, and banks might have provided this information. He warned that this is not permissible at all and it is against the laws.
Salameh assured that no one at the Bank of Lebanon, or in the assembly, wants to abolish the profession of cashiers, but he asked them to stop the use of the banking system to perform wire transfers abroad for the benefit of their clients, as that reflects negatively on the reputation of banks. For the customers who want to make banking operations, they have to seek the bank directly.
The Association of Banks in Lebanon raised an issue related to the note issued by the Banking Control Commission at the request of the Bank of Lebanon, about the audit of ATM’s, which resulted in a high cost for the auditors. The discussion showed that the declaration is required only on the number of ATMs and its locations to allow the Bank of Lebanon to ensure that they have licenses and the required specifications recommended by the central bank.
Riad Salameh announced that the increase of the currency market demand for the dollar is due to the business processes and benefits of treasury bonds from non-residents. He stressed the need to keep interest rates steady at their current levels.
Salameh encouraged banks to engage in the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to replace the treasury bonds that will mature by the end of June, by treasury bonds for seven years at an interest rate of 7.9%. Salameh pointed out that this process will be carried out on Thursday. According to the treasury bonds tables of benefits, there are bonds worth 1219 billion lira in due in May, and bonds worth 3069 billion lira in June.
Salameh also presented the results of meetings held recently between the Bank of Lebanon and the Assembly to discuss proposed amendments to the circulars 77, 106 and 118, which relates to internal control, banking governance, and the establishment of Audit and Risk Committees. With respect to the radical amendments proposed by the Bank of Lebanon, banks presented recommendation related to implementation of deadlines, and decided to form a committee of the Board and defined its functions, scope of work and frequency of its meetings. To complete these procedures, it was agreed to hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the assembly’s recommendations before approving it by the General Council of the Central Bank of Lebanon. Source: yallafinance.com.