Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flush with money

"Lebanese farmers will be qualified for the first time to obtain soft loans thanks to a deal signed Thursday between Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan and Fransabank.

Hassan and CEO of Fransabank Adel Kassar inked the agreement in the presence of the Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and the president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon Joseph Torbey.

The soft loan for farmers will range between LL3 million (close to $2,000) to LL25 million and the debt can be settled up to a period of 36 months.

The other important aspect for this new program is that the bank will not ask for any collateral for a loan application from farmers.

Salameh said before the signing ceremony that the Central Bank would always support any soft loans for this vital sector, adding that the bank will exempt commercial banks from the mandatory reserves if they provided soft loans to productive sectors in Lebanon.

“We at the Central Bank are working on measures to encourage lending to productive sectors,” Salameh said.

Flush with money, Lebanese banks are now seeking new avenues to invest the huge deposits especially since the interest rates in Lebanon and the international markets have fallen drastically."

The last statement is of course the most important...

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