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The recently launched and highly successful advertising campaign for Byblos Bank’s Expatriate Housing Loan is yet more proof of how much the Bank prioritizes the needs of Lebanese expats. Planet Lebanon 2017 Magazine speaks to Elie Abou Khalil, Head of Byblos Bank’s Group Retail Products Department, to provide more details.
Q: Why did Byblos Bank create such a touching advertising campaign for the Expatriate Housing Loan?
Elie Abou Khalil: Byblos Bank has always been keen on strengthening the bonds between Lebanese expatriates and their homeland. For this purpose, we’ve created a wide array of banking products and services designed to help them face the challenges of living and working in a foreign country while preserving their relationship with Lebanon and reinforcing their Lebanese identity.
In this context, we decided to highlight the Expatriate Housing Loan through a unique advertising campaign built around the traditions that Lebanese expatriates miss the most about their home country – the taste of the first almond in the spring, the never-ending Sunday family lunch, the mouthwatering aroma of mank’oucheh, etc. As soon as it was launched, the campaign went viral on social media, garnering more than 2.5 million views on Facebook and YouTube.
Q: What are the main features of the Expatriate Housing Loan?
E.A: This loan allows expatriates to purchase, renovate, or finance the construction of a home, or even buy a plot of land. It also provides preferential interest rates, with repayment periods ranging from 5 to 30 years.
The maximum amount of the Expatriate Housing Loan in Lebanese Pounds is LBP 800 million, provided that the amount does not exceed 75% of the total price of the home. Applicants are exempted from any filing fees for this loan, and receive a free credit card upon approval, along with free access to Byblos Bank’s Mobile and Internet Banking platforms.
Q: What about conditions and eligibility?
E.A: Applicants should be Lebanese citizens with official residence in a foreign country, and their age should not exceed 64 by the end of the loan period. They should also meet other conditions set by the Bank, depending on the products and services they would like to obtain.
Q: What new technologies are you implementing to facilitate e-banking for expatriates?
E.A: As one of Lebanon’s leading banks, Byblos Bank has been continuously developing innovative products and services in order to adapt to the needs and changing lifestyles of its customers. Over the past few years, we’ve launched a full spread of smart and secure e-banking products and services. These include Byblos Bank’s flagship Mobile Banking Application, which allows users to self-enroll and gain complete control over their accounts, the first such app in Lebanon; and the AkramApp, which is dedicated to the Akram Program, Lebanon’s most generous card loyalty plan.
In 2016, Byblos Bank teamed up with VISA to launch ByblosPay, the first real mobile payment application in Lebanon and the region to adopt Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology, widely regarded as the future of electronic payment. This innovative application allows customers to use their Android smartphones to pay in Lebanon or abroad without the need for cash, “sticky cards”, modified SIM cards, or any other devices.
All of these new applications are accessible to both local and expatriate clients, who can use them to manage their accounts anytime and from any place in the world, making them feel one step closer to home, wherever they may be.