The headquarters of the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL). Photo Credit: NNA.
The headquarters of the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL). Photo Credit: NNA.

Lebanese banks have reportedly received $ 250 million in aid for refugees and vulnerable people in the face of the economic crisis, a report from the Thomson Reuters Foundation said. The banking establishments would thus have perceived these sums via the difference between the official exchange rate and the parallel exchange rate set up by the Bank of Lebanon, underlines an internal report to the United Nations.

Thus, if the international aid paid to Syrian refugees was 27 USD per month or 40,500 LL before the implementation of parallel exchange rates, it would now amount to only 7 USD or 100,000 LL / USD paid per month by banks, this difference being for the benefit of the financial sector which is however much criticized in Lebanon.

Thus, if the Syrian refugees present in Lebanon have benefited from a program costing 400 million dollars since 2018, almost half would have evaporated by the conversion operations mainly carried out by the Banque du Liban and local banks.

This information could further highlight the role of the Bank of Lebanon when the World Bank has refused to grant loans to finance the program of assistance to vulnerable people in Lebanon and in particular Lebanese nationals, more than 65% of whom live. now below the poverty line. In question, the governor of the Bank of Lebanon Riad Salamé would have indicated last May to wish to pay this aid up to a parity of 6,450 LL / USD while the World Bank demands that it be paid in Lebanese pound equivalent to real value of foreign currencies either at the black market rate or directly in foreign currencies to avoid these operations forced conversions.

In addition, also accused of benefiting from these practices, the Association of Banks in Lebanon indicates that it has not used these funds to finance the capital increase in accordance with the circulars of the Banque du Liban.


The report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and entitled Crisis in Lebanon, Anatomy of a financial Collapse considers all Lebanese banks studied as insolvent. They are also threatened by legal proceedings, accused of money laundering and because of the link of certain establishments with Hezbollah in the USA.

• Bank Audi SAL
• Bank of Beirut SAL
• Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries SAL
• Bankmed SAL
• Banque Libano-Française SAL
• Byblos Bank SAL
• Lebanese SAL credit
• Fenicia Bank SAL
• Fransabank SAL
• IBL Bank SAL
• Lebanon and Gulf Bank SAL
• Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL

Among the banks cited:

In total, the 14 banks taken into account would require an injection of 67 billion dollars, which is far from the maximum sums that Lebanon could obtain in the framework of international aid, that is to say 26 billion dollars (15 billion dollars loans via the IMF and $ 11 billion via CEDRE on the condition of putting in place the economic, monetary and financial reforms necessary to unblock them).

According to calculations made by a foreign expert, all the establishments would require massive injections of funds, going up to 11.9 billion dollars for the BLOM alone, followed by 11 billion dollars for the Bank Audi, amounts today impossible to pay. find in Lebanon itself. The risk of bankruptcy or even complete shudown is therefore present for these establishments with significant losses for current shareholders.

They could only survive if they merge or haircuts the deposits present.

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