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Banks instate currency exchange regulations

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Purchases of dollars typically limited and sales generally require approval of the bank’s administration

Public banks have put forth a series of rules and conditions regulating the sale of dollars and the exchange of dollar liquidity in an attempt to avoid any non-recorded withdrawals and potential leaks to the black market.

Muhammad Nabil, director of a National Bank of Egypt branch, said the minimum amount of dollars a client is allowed to buy is $5,000. In the case that a request for more than $5,000 is made, local branches are required to send documents to the bank’s administration, which is required to reply within two days. No sales for more than $10,000 are permitted.

In the case that clients request to transfer funds abroad, a request is sent to the bank’s administration, which is stipulated to provide documents to the client guaranteeing a maximum sale of $100,000. This has been the maximum rate since the beginning of the revolution. Conditions include clients needing to have accounts both in dollars and in Egyptian pounds, with these accounts having been open a minimum of six months.

Another director, of a United Bank branch, said their clients will not be allowed to purchase dollars from local branches for fear of them getting sold on the black market. He added that fears exist that some may seek to exploit this crisis by selling dollars on the black market well above the value stipulated by the Central Bank. He added that only withdrawals and conversions of dollars from personal foreign accounts will be permitted.

Hazem Ali, director of a Banque du Caire branch, said his bank allow clients to withdraw up to $10,000 dollars per day, on the condition that the client joined the bank before 2012. New clients will be required to wait a month before dollar purchases can be made.

He added that those seeking to convert money from abroad must provide documentation of no more than $100,000 per year, and that sales to non-clients would not be permitted.

An official with Bank of Alexandria said his organisation did not allow the sale or foreign conversion of dollars to clients or non-clients, unless that client has an account in dollars, and the administration has agreed to provide and convert documents.

An official from Banque Misr said clients can buy up to $1,000 per day, on the condition that all withdrawals are made from the same branch that a client’s account was opened in, and that the account is no less than two months old. Transferring dollars abroad, it is necessary to provide proper documentation and obtain approval from the bank’s administration. Maximum sales are limited to $5,000 per day. The ability of the client to withdraw dollars and convert them from foreign personal bank accounts would also be taken into account, in addition to their reasons behind making the transaction.

A treasury director of the Arab Investment Bank said clients could not purchase dollars except with proper documentation, good reason and approval from the bank’s high administration. He added that the most a client could withdraw was $10,000 and that the bank’s approval was necessary.

Egypt’s Industrial Development and Workers Bank, Greek National Bank, and the National Banking Institution for Development have all declined to allow clients to buy dollars due to the fear of currency being sold on the black market, and the use of liquidity having an effect on imports.


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