Lately, most receivers of money transfers in Lebanon, whether local or international, have only been permitted to withdraw their cash in Lebanese pounds, even if the sender had originally deposited the amount in US dollars.
This has been a very bothersome effect of the current economic deficiency of Lebanon.
Thankfully, you can now withdraw your money in dollars at any OMT branch if it was sent to you from a foreign country. The company issued a statement on Tuesday informing of their commitment to this decision starting Wednesday, January 15.
In the statement, OMT asserted that, as per their new policy, its branches will guarantee “the delivery of the value of the transfer received from abroad in cash and in US dollars exclusively, and without making any currency exchange operations.”
In case an agent does not have sufficient dollars to satisfy the amount due, a customer may call OMT’s Call Center to be directed to a branch close by that is able to provide the required amount in foreign currency.
In order to maintain the applicability of its new policy when the local market is clearly very lacking in US dollars, OMT will secure the necessary liquidity of the currency by constantly transferring it into Lebanon from other countries.
“This action will subject [the company] to a fee of two percent in return for the shipment, insurance, transport, distribution, custody, and management of this cash liquidity in US dollars.”
In conclusion, OMT said it “hopes that the delivery of inward remittances exclusively in US dollars will contribute to the economic cycle, especially that of the commercial markets.”
The decision came after the central bank’s December 30 circular that obliges money transfer companies to commit to delivering transfers coming from abroad in dollars, instead of exchanging the currency and handing it to the customers in the local currency.
Because the restrictions imposed by banks on the dollar may hinder their inability to adhere to the circular, companies like OMT resorted to buying dollars from other countries to guarantee a constant flow of the scarce currency.