According to the data published by the Association of Lebanese Banks’ (ABL), the total number of cleared checks in the Lebanese financial system slumped from 911,875 checks from March 2021 to 565,271 checks by March 2022. Consequently, the value of total cleared checks decreased yearly by 14.7% to reach $8.53B for the third month of 2022.
In details, the value of checks in LBP increased remarkably from $4.15B in March 2021 to reach $5.53B in March 2022, while value of checks in foreign currencies decreased significantly by 49% year on year (YOY) to reach $2.99B by March 2022. Arguably, the increase in the value of LBP checks could be attributed to the fact that, in the last quarter of year 2021, banks resumed lending companies facilities in LBP to be exclusively used in checks.
In addition, the volumes of cleared checks in Lebanese Pounds and foreign currencies witnessed significant yearly drops of 29.48% and 44.81% respectively to settle at 285,326 and 279,945 checks, by March 2022.
Accordingly, the dollarization of cleared checks in terms of value significantly declined in March 2022, to settle at 35.11%, instead of 58.49% in March 2021. In the same token, the dollarization rate of checks in terms of volume fell in March 2022, to reach 49.52% instead of 55.63% in March 2021.
Notably, the number of returned checks fell by a substantial 51.23% YOY to stand at 4,156 checks while the value of returned checks retreated by 44.5% YOY to reach $77M by March 2022. Noting that banker checks are recently being more used to conduct check payment transactions, thus decreasing the number of returned checks.
Value of Cleared Checks by Currency, by March 2022 (in $B)
Source: ABL, BLOMINVEST