ISTANBUL, Jan 14 (Reuters) – The Turkish central bank delayed implementation of a fee for U.S. dollar and euro accounts at banks that cannot encourage customers to turn to lira, according to a document sent to banks seen by Reuters.
Last month, the central bank said a 1.5% commission will be imposed on foreign currency required reserves accounts of banks if they did not reach certain thresholds on conversion to lira. The move was seen as a punishment for banks whose customers choose to keep savings in foreign currencies.
The banks should hit a 10% foreign currency account to lira account conversion rate by April 15 to avoid the fee, the document showed. The banks also should hit a 20% conversion rate by July 8 to be exempt from the fee until end-2022, it showed.
More than half of locals’ savings is in foreign currencies and gold, according to central bank data, due to a loss of confidence in the lira after years of depreciation. The lira fell more than 40% against hard currencies last year alone.
The currency had slumped to a record low of 18.40 in to the dollar in December before the government and central bank announced steps to protect lira deposits from foreign exchange depreciation.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu and Ezgi Erkoyun; editing by Jonathan Oatis