Time has come for us, the depositors in Lebanese banks, to organize ourselves in order to protect our savings, hold those responsible for this crisis accountable, and reform the political, financial and banking systems in Lebanon.
The Association of depositors in Lebanon offers this platform for residents and expats Lebanese depositors, as well as foreign depositors, to meet and gather in order to act together and reclaim our savings.
After the Lebanese banks seized the depositors’ money in October 2019, it was necessary to form a legal and democratic framework that organizes the efforts of depositors, through which they can claim their rights, put pressure on the banks, the Central Bank, the government and the parliament.
Therefore, in November 2019 the founding members developed the idea of establishing the Association of Depositors in Lebanon (ADL).
The Association of Depositors in Lebanon (ADL) began its activity through a group of committees, where a legal committee was formed consisting of a number of volunteer lawyers, and an economic committee composed of economists and financial experts, and a media and communications committee composed of journalists and digital producers, that boosted its work on various tracks and levels.
The association of depositors in Lebanon is currently exerting an effort to defend the rights of depositors in their legal disputes with banks, as well as carrying out various activities from the field in addition to media activities and providing economic studies in order to press for a fair solution for depositors and with the aim of urging depositors to claim their rights and spread awareness about the risks of actions undertaken by the financial and political authorities on Depositors’ rights.
Nowadays, the ruling system is managing the financial crisis in a discretionary and fraudulent manner, in the absence of legal or political protection for the poverty-stricken groups, or clear cost-sharing mechanisms. In collusion with the political parties, the central bank, part of the judiciary and the government, passing laws and policies notwithstanding the interests of the vast majority of the Lebanese people, banks, also illegally detain our deposits regardless of the interests of the small and medium depositors, who in turn constitute the vast majority of depositors.
The banks invested the savings of the Lebanese people in the public debt, in return for exorbitant interests, which earned the wealthiest shareholders outstanding profits. Now, after politicians spent our savings on fake deals and corruption projects, and after the owners of banks and the major wealthy community profited from deliberately transferring their money abroad, the ruling system wants to throw the heavy burden of the crisis on the depositors by deducting from their accounts.
It also wants to run off with our savings, or throw the burden of the economic difficulties on us by seizing our deposits, and indirectly passing a Haircut through inflation, the exchange rate, and other fraudulent scenarios. The organization has thus become a reality that must be resorted to in order to confront these policies.
In order to confront these policies, The ADL hereby announces the launch of a consolidated confrontation that seeks to establish five non-negotiable basic pillars, to solve the financial crisis that will be anchored by the power of the protests, and the law:
Any solution that does not rely upon these five pillars will not be able to secure the urgent interests of depositors and is thereby definitely unacceptable.
1. Equitable Distribution of Costs:
Those who have benefited from previous fiscal policies must endure the most of this crisis. The imposed arbitrary measures weigh heavily on small and medium depositors while providing blatant facilities for big depositors. An implementation of clear cost-sharing mechanisms and the establishment of legal guarantees for owners of small and medium deposits are necessary.
2. The Inevitability of Debt Restructuring:
Any solution to the financial crisis must rely on the fact that the Lebanese State is bankrupt and unable to pay its dues. Consequently, the banks that reaped the largest profits by financing the public debt must bear the consequences of this bankruptcy. The central bank must also assume its real role in restructuring the banking sector and financing it, in a way that ensures the protection of deposits. Blaming the Lebanese people and the public treasury, for the consequences of the greed of a minority of money holders and banks that illegally feed on the citizen’s pocket and tax money, shall not and will not pass.
Dealing with the crisis necessitates starting from a clear and long-term vision based on a clear detailed plan, fair procedures and specific results and deadlines.
All ministries, departments, and public administrations shall adopt an open-doors policy for citizens and the media in order to enact monitoring, accountability and participation, through the automatic and transparent publication of reports, data and plans in a manner that respects the right to access information.
Exiting the crisis requires a plan based on clear mechanisms for holding accountable all the perpetrators, who have betrayed the trust, wasted public money, and disposed of depositors’ money in risky manoeuvres, notwithstanding of the rights, the reap of the lifetime nor the savings of the people.
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