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bankingDecember 16, 2020

Housing Bank resumes lending

$165 million allocated at LL3,900 for 3,000 loans in lira

Banque de l’Habitat (The Housing Bank) will start providing long-term loans for purchasing, construction, or restoration of residential units.

The Housing Bank has secured a $165 million loan from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD).

The Central Bank (BDL) will provide the lira equivalent of this amount at a LL3,900 exchange rate. An overall credit line of LL640 billion will be available for borrowers. The bank will be able to provide 3,000 loans.

Lebanese residents as well as expatriates can benefit from these loans immediately.

A ceiling of LL300 million was set for beneficiaries whose household income does not exceed LL6.75 million per month ($4,500 per official rates, and $813 per today’s black market rate). A ceiling of LL450 million was set for loans of homebuyers whose household income per month ranges between LL6.75 million to LL10 million.

According to Joseph Sassine, Chairman of the Housing Bank, these ceilings were set when the dollar exchange rate was stable. These ceilings will be raised to LL450 million and LL600 million to meet the borrowers’ housing needs, but this requires the Parliament’s approval. “Lenders whose loans will be approved before the ceilings amendment will receive the difference at a later stage,” Sassine said.

The Housing Bank will charge borrowers an annual fixed rate of 4.5 percent for 30 years. Its cost of funding from the AFESD is 2.5 percent.

This is the third loan from the AFESD. It was approved in March 2019. “AFESD is willing to offer new loans,” Sassine said.