BEIRUT: Head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon Joseph Torbey reaffirmed that the lenders will continue to offer private-sector loans, after a meeting Tuesday with President Michel Aoun. We have visited the president in the framework of the associations meetings with other officials. Our discussions focused on political and security stability in Lebanon. We also renewed our commitment to the development of the economy, Torbey told reporters.

He said the meeting with the president also touched on U.S. sanctions on some parties in Lebanon.

Torbey reiterated that banks would continue to provide loans to in order to support the middle class.

The banking and financial sector have great faith in the policies of the Central Bank and I can assure [you] that there is no crisis. We also listened to the guidance of the president who advised us to preserve the economy and continue our lending, he said.

Torbey also underlined the importance of gas exploration off the Lebanese coast in the future, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

The meeting between the Association of Banks and the president also reviewed new taxes on the banking sector.

Lebanese banks consider the new taxes unfair as they would drastically cut their annual profits.

The bankers have been urging the government to seek different options to increase the states revenues, such as combating waste, carrying out reforms and improving tax collection.

The new taxes came into effect at the start of 2018.

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