With Lebanon’s collapsing banking system, people haven’t been able to easily access their dollars stuck in Lebanese banks. It’s so bad that there’s even a name for those stuck dollars: Lollar.
As a result, people are having to rely on family members abroad to send money and help keep them afloat.
Lebanese abroad are helping thousands of families in Lebanon stay on their feet during these unprecedented times by providing financial support through Lebanon’s leading provider of money transfer services, Online Money Transfer (OMT), Western Union’s first accredited agent in Lebanon.
With the current Lira-to-USD exchange rate, a transfer of as little as $200 each month can make even more than the value of a $1,000 monthly salary before the economic crash.
In April, a decision by the Central Bank (BDL) imposed pay-outs of instant money transfers coming from abroad in LBP exclusively.
This made the living situation increasingly difficult for the Lebanese. Then came along the Beirut Port explosion on August 4th, which severely exacerbated the situation.
However, it was then that the Banque Du Liban (BDL) allowed people to collect money transfers in USD once again.
Nearly every Lebanese person has at least a relative living abroad. In fact, the Lebanese diaspora is at least 3 times the population of Lebanon, with conservative estimates placing it at 12 million.
OMT noted the tremendous concern and support from expats standing in solidarity with their loved ones in Lebanon.
“150,000 families, each month, receive money transfers from abroad in cash and USD through OMT,” said Chairman Toufic Mouawad.
A total of $100 million is transferred through their international money transfer service each month to help Lebanese cover their basic daily needs during these difficult times.
According to OMT, an average of $600 per transfer is sent from abroad to help loved ones cover their daily living expenses in this ongoing economic situation. 60% of inbound transfers amount to an average of $300.
These international money transfers through OMT and similar services have been the oxygen of the Lebanese economy. They are a significant source of instant and fresh USD – a currency that has been running dry in Lebanon.
Despite the pandemic, OMT continued to serve its customers through its network across the country. It has taken necessary preventive measures in its headquarters and across all its locations to ensure the safety of its customers and staff.
Early in the pandemic, OMTdonated over 150 million LBP towards fighting COVID-19 in Lebanon. OMT also stepped up in response to the blast and launched the initiative We Are All Next to Beirut, donating 1 billion LBP to help 1,000 families in need and who were affected by the explosion.
Working alongside Caritas Lebanon, which provided the database of families, OMT‘s directors, managers, and team members took to the streets to meet the families and offer support and warmth.
OMT is a leading Lebanese provider of money transfer services with a network of over 1,000 Agents across Lebanon.
It is headed by Chairman Toufic Mouawad and board members Naji Abou Zeid, Joya Mouawad Machnouk, and Hikmat Abou Zeid, and employs more than 200 Lebanese talents at its head office.