Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Banque de l'Habitat is giving me visions of flashback

In an American sitcom (I forgot which one sadly) a heavily pregnant woman is having a tough time, to which her husband, trying to alleviate some of her discomfort offers her a foot massage. She sarcastically answers "this is what got us here in the first place!". Which brings us to Banque de l'Habitat.

I know, I know, the link is too difficult, but hang in there I shall explain:

Apparently Banque de l'Habitat is resuming their support for people to buy homes according to its director general Antoine Habib. Having received following the completion of the legal and logistical arrangements for the start of the implementation of the provisions of the loan concluded with the “Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development”, at a value of 50 million Kuwaiti dinars, equivalent to approximately $160 million.

All this is fine and dandy. Now, listen to the conditions to which what a Lebanese citizen must comply to get said loan:

First there are three types of loans: Buying, or restoring or building a house with the loan being 40,000 USD for those of limited earnings and 50,000 for those with medium earnings to be repaid 20 years later maximum and 7 minimum. The repayment shall be in Dollars.

Now the person asking for a loan should not have any other house on the Lebanese territory in their name, that the person in question has not benefited from any supported loan, that they provide a guarantee either through work or "family subsistence" or external aid from family which guarantees reimbursement and that the said house should not be more than 150 square meters.

Habib also emphasizes that the family income should be between 1500 and 2500 USD monthly, of which a third - meaning 350 or 400 USD - would be taken monthly. The person asking for a loan can get a guarantor to help him repay, and that 20% of sum should be paid in advance.

Cue: The sitcom. Banks, in the pre-crisis days would accept papers which inflated salaries by 3 times among the required paperwork. Among other fictional guarantees people would submit because of the "wasta" (clientage) system and what not. This has actually hastened the domino in the house of cards of banks falling since 2019. 

So basically, if you can find me a family with an income of 2500 - when anyone in the governmental sector has a salary of about 100 USD as an example, and when a lot of people are being hired on the cheap by online or foreign companies just for them to have a job. So for some reason I feel there will - suddenly - be people whose salaries will be inflated which brings us back to: "this is what got us here in the first place!"