Banque du Liban Basic Circular 158

FAQs | Banque du Liban Basic Circular 158 | Lebanon | Byblos Bank

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Banque du Liban Basic Circular 158

Banque du Liban (BDL) issued on Tuesday, 8 June 2021, the Basic Circular 158 related to the exceptional measures concerning cash withdrawals from foreign currency bank accounts. Here below are some useful information and clarifications related to this Circular, which allows both withdrawals of up to USD 400 in cash and USD 200 in cash LBP at the Sayrafa platform’s exchange rate, and purchases by debit cards equivalent to an amount of up to USD 200 converted to LBP at the Sayrafa platform’s rate too.

 

What should I do to withdraw my money and benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158? Do I need to visit the branch in person?

On 30 June 2021, clients eligible to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158 will receive an SMS on their mobile phones, stating that they are eligible to benefit from the Circular and containing a link to a letter informing them that:

 

1. The Bank started the process of applying Circular 158

2. Eligible clients will receive an SMS with a Login link or an invitation to visit the branch to execute Circular 158 on the following dates:

i. For Private Account holders having no Joint Accounts: Starting 1 July 2021

ii. For Joint Account holders who also have Private Accounts: Starting 12 July 2021 

3. Clients eligible to benefit from Circular 158 will temporarily stop benefitting from Circular 151 until they decide which Circular of the two they would like to benefit from. 

 

Starting 1 July 2021, another SMS will be sent to eligible Private Account holders (having no Joint Accounts) with another link to the website. Clients will press the link, then:

 

1. Fill in their Mobile Banking application credentials or their debit card number related to their Private Account and its pin code;

2. Enter the OTP received by SMS;

3. View their total eligible amount;

i. If they agree with all the conditions stated in Circular 158, they should press on “Execute Circ. 158”. 

ii. If they decline to benefit from Circular 158, they should press on “Not Interested”. 

 

Starting 12 July 2021, an SMS will be sent to eligible Private Account holders having one or more Joint Accounts

inviting all concerned parties of such accounts to visit their branch to Approve or Reject benefitting from Circular 158.

 

Will I need to sign any documents?

Yes, you will need to sign the following documents: 

If you are applying through the Internet (Digital Signature):

  • A Letter of Acceptance including Banking Secrecy Waiver 

If you are applying in person through the branch:

If you decide to benefit from Circular 158: 

  • A Letter of Acceptance including Bank Secrecy Waiver 
  • The BDL RPT, Central de depots;
  • A joint letter for Joint Account holders.

If you decline to benefit from Circular 158:

  • A Letter of Non Acceptance.

 

Who can benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158?

You will be eligible to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158 if you belong to one of the below categories of clients:

  • Only individuals/physical persons that held Foreign Currency Yield (FCY) accounts as at 31 October 2019 and whose accounts are still currently active;
  • Minors, included as independent IDs;
  • Co-holders (physical persons) of Joint and Co-Joint accounts.

 

Who is excluded from benefiting from BDL Basic Circular 158?

You will not be eligible to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158 if you belong to one of the below categories of clients:

  • Establishments, sole proprietorships or companies;
  • Holders of FCY accounts that used to exist as at 31 October 2019, but no longer exist today;
  • Holders of new accounts created after 31 October 2019;
  • Customers who are subject to BDL Circular 154 (clients who have transferred more than USD 500,000// of their deposits abroad since 1 July 2017) and didn’t channel back the requested amount;
  • NGOs, public sector and financial institutions;  
  • New CIFs created after 31 October 2019.

All clients who are eligible to benefit from Circular 158 will no longer be able to benefit from Circular 151 (Withdrawal from FCY at USD/LBP exchange rate of 3,900) starting 1 July 2021. 

 

How will the Bank calculate the eligible amount?

1. The Bank will take the lowest amount between:

  • The total balance of accounts on 31 October 2019 after excluding Cash Collaterals (including LBP cash collaterals if any), 
    or,
  • The minimum balance between 31 October 2019 and the start of the implementation of Circular 158 on 30 June 2021, after excluding the Cash Collateral and the converted amount in USD.

 

2. Then, the Bank will exclude from the above balance:

  • All transfers including checks (whether purchased or Intra Bank) from 1 November 2019 till 30 June 2021;
  • All incoming transfers whether domestic or internal transfers from 1 November 2019 till 30 June 2021;
  • All deposit FX conversion that increased the balance of the FCY account from 1 November 2019 till 30 June 2021;
  • All settled loans and cards FX payments from 1 November 2019 till 26 August 2020;
  • All “retail” loan installments in FCY that were settled in LBP since 1 November 2019, or to be settled in LBP in the future to cover the number of months/installments remaining of the loan on condition that it does not exceed the expected lifespan of Circular 158 (until June 2026). 

 

If I only have a joint account at the Bank, what is the amount from which I can benefit?

Both holders of a Joint Account should agree on benefiting from BDL Basic Circular 158 first. Private Accounts shall then be opened for each holder and related allowed limits shall be transferred to these accounts. Each holder will benefit from a maximum amount of USD 800, to be split into USD 400 in cash, USD 200 exchanged at the Sayrafa platform’s rate and withdrawn in cash LBP from any Bank’s ATM, and USD 200 exchanged at the Sayrafa platform’s rate and used in LBP for POS purchases.

 

Which card should I use to withdraw my money?

You must use the same debit card that you usually use to withdraw cash from Byblos Bank ATMs. It will not be necessary to issue a new debit card.

 

Will I be asked to close my account(s) after withdrawing my money?

No, you will not be asked to close your account(s) after withdrawing your money. However, the Bank reserves the right to close the account(s), according to the estimated time needed to withdraw the amounts.

 

Can I withdraw part of the amount available in my account or will I need to withdraw the full amount?

You can withdraw part or all of the amount available in your account, either through Byblos Bank ATMs, or by visiting the branch.

 

Can I perform more than one cash withdrawal operation?

Yes, you can perform more than one cash withdrawal operation.

 

If the exchange rate specified by the BDL Sayrafa platform increases, will I benefit from this increase?

Yes, if the exchange rate specified by the BDL Sayrafa platform increases on the date of your transaction, you will benefit from the increase in the exchanged currency’s value.

 

If I have an eligible account in another bank, will I be able to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158 to withdraw money from my account(s) from more than one bank?

No, you can benefit from the Circular to withdraw money from your account at only one bank, as you will sign on a Banking Secrecy Waiver, which will only apply on the account opened specifically for this purpose.

 

Can I withdraw money directly from my account or is the eligible amount going to be transferred to another account?

When you decide to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158, your branch will open 4 sub-accounts to perform the transactions, as follows:

1. A Special Sub-Account to which the full eligible amount will be transferred after deducting all loans and banking commitments, if any (with a maximum eligible amount of USD 50,000);

2. A Fresh USD account to which USD 400 will be automatically transferred on a monthly basis, to be withdrawn in cash from any Byblos Bank ATM;

3. An LBP account to which the equivalent in LBP of USD 200 will be automatically transferred on a monthly basis, based on the Sayrafa platform’s exchange rate, to be withdrawn in cash from any Byblos Bank ATM;

4. An LBP POS account to which the equivalent in LBP of USD 200 will be automatically transferred on a monthly basis, based on the Sayrafa platform’s exchange rate to be used for local purchases through a debit card.

 

 Will I be charged any fees?

Byblos Bank will not charge any fees on the Special Sub-Accounts opened specifically for BDL Basic Circular 158.

 

Will I still benefit from BDL Basic Circular 151 if I agree to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158?

No, once you decide to benefit from BDL Basic Circular 158, you can no longer benefit from BDL Basic Circular 151. Circular 151 will be stopped for clients eligible for Circular 158 until they choose if they would like to benefit from Circular 151 or from Circular 158. 

 

How will Joint Accounts benefit from Circular 158?

In the following example: 

  • Clients A and B have a Joint Account (A and/or B), with a Balance USD 100,000. They are eligible for Circular 158 with an allowed limit of USD 40,000.
  • Client A has a Private Account, with a balance USD 60,000. This account is eligible for Circular 158 with an allowed limit of USD 20,000.
  • Client B does not have a Private Account.

Here are two scenarios explaining how these Joint Account holders benefit from the Circular: 

 

Scenario 1:

  • Client A, can benefit from Circular 158 on his Private Account for an amount of USD 20,000, and from his Joint Account for up to USD 30,000 to reach the maximum of USD 50,000.
  • Client B can benefit from Circular 158 on his Joint Account for up to USD 10,000.
  • Both clients (A and B) should sign the joint letter at the branch.

For this scenario Client A, B and (A and/or B) will not benefit from Circular 151 on all their accounts.

 

Scenario 2:

  • Client B can benefit from a maximum amount of USD 40,000 if Client A approves.
  • Customer A can decide not to benefit from BDL Circular 158. He must sign the Circular 158 rejection letter; in this case Client A would benefit from Circular 151.
  • Client A and B would not benefit from Circular 151.