Following a meeting run by the Lebanese Banks Association, a decision was made that starting from Tuesday Lebanese banks will undergo an open-ended strike and close their doors while keeping their ATMs operational so that basic services are still on offer. The strike calls for Lebanese authorities to pass overdue measures to tackle an ongoing financial crisis. The association is demanding that the authorities apply a capital control law where informal restrictions are to be applied in withdrawals in hard currency as well as Lebanese pounds. They also seek new legislation to change and restructure the country’s current banks.
The current demise of the country’s banks is part of Lebanon’s economic meltdown and financial crisis that began back in 2019. Since then, more than three quarters of the country’s population have been plunged into poverty while the Lebanese pound lost almost 97% of its value against the dollar. The strike is a response to the country’s current financial dilemma wherein the bank’s association said on Tuesday that, “the crisis is not a crisis of one bank or even all the banks” but its the kind of crisis that, “affects the entire financial and banking system”.
The association hopes that the government will be forced to take action and implement much needed reforms so that the the country can receive a three billion dollar bailout from the International Monetary Fund whose preconditions include capital controls as well as a bank restructuring framework.