The Business Year

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Fadi Assali

Chairman & General Manager, Cedrus Bank

We have two banks: one focusing on investment, private banking, and wealth management and the other focusing on commercial and retail banking. We provide complete banking solutions to our clients, which is why we are growing at a rapid pace. Furthermore, we try and think differently in terms of reaching out to our clients and servicing them with the products we offer. We currently have equity of USD350 million, which translates to a liquidity ratio of around 40%, the highest in Lebanon. At the same time, we have the fastest-growing rate in terms of total assets, total deposits, and loans, which we hope to increase further in the coming years. When it comes to retail and investment products, demand is balanced between both sides. On the investment side, we focus on investment solutions that cater to our ultra-high net worth individuals. This includes real estate and private equity solutions. These are sophisticated solutions that we provide to our investors in markets that they otherwise would have no access to; there is a growing demand for that in Lebanon and the region. On the retail and commercial side, we focus on the middle and smaller markets, in which space there is high demand for differentiated service. We also provide SMEs with the quality of service that our ultra-high net worth clients get in the private banking space.

Fadi Daouk

Executive General Manager & Board Member, BML Bank

Banque Misr Liban S.A.L. ended the year with total assets of over USD2 billion, net profits of USD13.65 million, and deposits growing at 6.09%. At the end of 2017, Lebanon had some political turmoil, which negatively impacted the banking sector. Luckily, however, this turmoil didn’t last long. The economical environment has changed positively, confirmed by the two conferences in Rome and Paris that had a tremendous impact on Lebanon—our expected growth for 2018 is now at 5.28%. One needs to stress the high foreign country reserves of the central bank and the great performance of its governor, Riyad Salemeh. As for BML’s strategy to continue attracting the diaspora to deposit in Lebanese banks, our strategy is to focus on the 14 million Lebanese scattered across the Gulf, Africa, Latin America, Australia, North America, and Europe who have become successful entrepreneurs. BML recently opened a representative office in the Ivory Coast to cater to the Lebanese working across West Africa and providing them with full banking services out of Lebanon. In fact, Banque Misr’s network will soon be able to service the Lebanese living in Egypt, the UAE, France, Germany, Russia, and China.

Najib Semaan

General Manager, Najib Semaan

First National Bank was founded in 1994 and conducts all types of commercial and investment banking activities under the supervision of the Central Bank of Lebanon. We are among the top Alpha Group banks in Beirut, and our bank sheet exceeded USD4 billion in total assets at the end of September 2017. We have 6,660 employees in our group. The bank has three arms in terms of financial institutions: the bank group head; FNB Capital, the brokerage arm of the group for stock, equity, and security trading; and FNB Finance, the leading Beiruti company for microfinance. Another company currently operating under the umbrella of the group is CFH, the investment arm of the bank specialized in creating special purpose vehicles (SPV) in the real estate business, restructuring companies, and bringing equities to companies. Its activities are mainly based in the Gulf and Europe. It brings in investors and consolidates equity in order to enter into certain transactions and restructure companies. The banks cover retail, FNB Finance oversees microcredit for non-bankable people, and CFH covers advisory services. We will have a great network of 29 branches by the end of 2018. This group is headed by our chairman Rami El Nimer, who is extremely active in terms of commercial banking and banking activities.



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