There is growing fear among bankers in Lebanon that their positions can vanish as their worsening economic crisis keeps increasing.
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As reported by the well-known media websites, Banking employees and executives believe they are "held trapped by fear" over their jobs for the first time since the end of the civil war in Lebanon in 1990.
According to the report published, an employee desperately said that the staff go to the bank every day with that fear of the unexpected to happen as "laying off" and "unpaid leave" are buzzwords in the banking sector nowadays. Moreover, a branch manager for one of Lebanon's significant banks said the more than 300 banking branches are expected to close by early next year.
The manager confirms that many leading Lebanese banks have closed around 20% of their branches across Lebanon. They are also expecting that the total number of bank branches in Lebanon will decrease from 1,100 to less than 800 branches at the beginning of 2021.
He claimed that the bank sector losses are on the rise, which drives one of the top ten banks, which has +80 branches to lay off 500 employees, and another bank with the same importance has laid off 200 employees. The result was that 1500 employees out of 26,000 employees working in banking had lost their jobs.
Lebanon's central bank encouraged banks to raise their reserves by the end of February 2021 in August.
With the emergence of the political and economic crisis in October 2019, banks developed a strategy to minimize operational costs by shutting branches or terminating their staff. It has also sold its units and properties overseas.
Eight Lebanese banks based in Iraq have agreed to close their branches there, while Bank Audi and BLOM Bank are planning to sell their businesses in Egypt.
BLOM Bank, Bank Audi, and Byblos Bank also removed global depositary shares (GDS) from European stock exchanges such as the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
Lebanon's banks continue to face volatile market environments and focus on providing future risks associated with their private-sector lending portfolios and federal Eurobond assets.
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