Clients in Lebanese banks have rushed to the banks to withdraw their deposits, after efforts from the central bank of Lebanon to prevent the panic placing unofficial restrictions on money transactions. A move that caused panic and people to rush to the banks to clear their accounts. The situation is failing fast according to the Reuters report:
“Clients with guns have entered banks and security guards have been afraid to speak to them as when people are in a state like this you don’t know how people will act”
People queue outside a bank in Lebanon, Reuters
Lebanon banks have been closed for 2 weeks amid massive protests never seen before in the country in the last 30 years. The economic situation in Lebanon is on the edge of collapse and banks fear a run of panic to withdraw deposits. This is why restrictions have been placed when banks reopened this week limiting cash withdrawals, transfers and raising the withdrawal fees, blocking most transfers out of the country and limiting dollar cash holding to people that travel abroad.
All this restriction resulted in threats against bank staff with videos shared on social media showing the angry people that can not access their deposits, inside Lebanese banks.
“This is our money!… We can’t get our money – you have money in the banks and you’re not giving it to the people! You’re stealing from us!”
Situation in Lebanese Banks is extremely dangerous, shortage to lack of US dollars for depositors. https://t.co/MrCicTg4yF
— Bassem (@BBassem7) November 8, 2019
A chaotic situation in front of the bank doors as Daily Sabah reports:
“Large queues starting forming outside banks from early morning and people rushed in as soon as doors opened to cash in their salaries and make transfers.
Tellers struggled to handle the flood of customers trying to cram inside bank branches, as queues spilt onto the streets.”
With the ongoing protests in the country and dangerous situation inside the banks, things may get even worse while bank staff may go in the strike said George al-Hajj, president of the Federation of Syndicates of Banks Employees.
“Clients are becoming very aggressive; the situation is very critical and our colleagues cannot continue under the current circumstances,” added Hajj, whose union has around 11,000 members, just under half of the total banking staff.
“Anything that touches the liquidity of the bank is being restricted,” a bank official told Reuters.
— Ali Reslan (@Ali___lb) November 1, 2019
Violent situations are being reported inside and outside banks with bank staff being assaulted by angry clients that demand their money.
— nadine (@nadineabdulwah) November 8, 2019
Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces Party in a telephone interview told Reuters:
“Every hour we hear of a crisis at the gates, whether it’s (supply of) petrol, flour, or medicine,” Geagea said in a telephone interview. “Everything is collapsing and the officials are on another planet, taking their time.”
The unemployment rate in Lebanon is high and the lack of confidence in the Lebanese Lira makes things worse for the banks with people being able to take their fate in their hands. This is why banks are blocking or limiting dollar transactions.
As the crypto guys say “not your keys, not your coins”. It is only a matter of time when situations like this will happen in western countries.
It is time to separate the money from the state. Freedom doesn’t exist without a free currency.
Long bitcoin and short the bankers.