Hamra, Beirut
Unable to access personal savings at the bank

SAMI (a retired employee), endured the late banking crisis that occurred in Lebanon. He has a bank account that he could not access freely:
“Since the banks started putting restrictions on money withdrawal, and I felt it wasn’t going to get better, every time I go out, practically on a daily basis, I withdrew a small amount. In the beginning they were putting restrictions only on the amounts so they used to allow us for a 100 or 200 USD, and we used to take them in dollars. Then they stopped doing this of course, and now we have money in the bank that we cannot withdraw. “Now they let us withdraw at the rate of 3900, when the things we buy are on the rate of the black‐market dollar, ie the double or more, including the vegetables that are from the Lebanese market. Everything is so related to the dollar, so everything is highly expensive.” “Where can I go complain? and to whom? There is no one rule, and no one law. The situation is completely foolish.

“We felt something is wrong when banks started giving very high interest on the dollar savings going up to 15%, which is huge, now there is nothing to be done.” “I know someone who withdrew their work compensation on all their years of work, and deposited in the bank, and now find themselves not being able to withdraw a dime. They were counting on this compensation to make a living. Now they are at the mercy of the banks’ weekly allocation.

”Banks are taking our money hostage and limiting our withdrawals, and not even giving us this limited amount for much less than it is worth. At least give us what our money is worth.” “The situation is not a result of the moment, but rather an accumulation of years of theft, corruption, looting and bad management. We heard of money smuggling by people highly placed, because they are the main cook of the poisonous situation, so they went around it and smuggle their money and let us people be robbed by the banks to lose our savings.

”When I used to find crowd, I used to leave, & come back later. The ATM machines were still open to us even in the night. Now this has changed. There is barely one machine in each neighborhood and you can’t withdraw after certain hours. ATM machines are now mostly inside the banks. There are no services on the counter. You make all your withdrawals in the ATM, even checks deposits. There used to be 2 or 3 employees on the counters to help and serve the clients, now there are no one anymore, they help you only for things that has nothing to do with money.