The Lebanese banking industry
is financially sound and stable. It plays key roles in the Lebanese economy where banks continue to dominate the financial system of the country and are major providers of credit to individuals and businesses.
Banks and other financial institutions in Lebanon fall under the jurisdiction of the Bank of Lebanon (BDL), the country's central bank, which is the bank regulatory authority. The Bank of Lebanon controls entry into the banking industry, defines the scope of banking activities and sets prudential regulations and codes of practice for banks.
The Banking Control Commission (BCC), established in 1967, is the bank supervisory authority. It is responsible for supervising banking activities and ensuring compliance with the various financial and banking rules and regulations.
Overall banking activities are also subject to both the Code of Commerce (1942) and the Code of Money and Credit (1963).
The progress realized by the Lebanese banking sector over the last ten years or so could not have been possible without the appropriate and strong bank regulation and supervision undertaken by the BDL and BCC and the close cooperation of the ABL.
THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LEBANESE BANKING SECTOR ARE:
Large number of banks of different sizes, nature and ownership structure
Significant openness to abroad
- Between 60 to 92 banks over the last 50 years.
- Small, medium and large-size private owned commercial banks; Medium and long-term credit and investment banks; Islamic Banks; Lebanese, foreign and mixed.
Highly qualified human resources
- Lebanese banks’ expansion in Arab neighboring countries, Gulf region, Europe, Africa and the United States.
- Through branches, affiliated companies, subsidiaries, sister banks and representative offices spread in countries around the world.
- Remarkable Arab and Foreign banks presence in Lebanon through branches and representative offices.
- A very large network of correspondent banks.
Provision of traditional and modern services of which:
- High and rising share of University degree holders and an important representation of Lebanese women in the regular and senior positions.
- Well trained, highly qualified and experienced human resources.
- Continuous training domestically and abroad, and exposure to recent developments in the world banking industry.
Sector committed to international norms and standards
- ATM, Card services, and Electronic Banking.
- Retail, Private, Corporate and Islamic banking.
- Brokerage, Consulting and Insurance services.
Largely integrated in the Lebanese economy
- Adhering to international best practices and standards
- Rules and regulations comply with world standards and guidelines set by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), FATF / GAFI, and other international bodies.
Favorable and sustainable growth and performance
- Dominate financial intermediation and provide the financing needs of the domestic public and private sectors.
- Main channel for capital inflows into Lebanon and involved in the financing of a large part of the current account deficit.
Strong ability to weather and overcome shocks and crisis
- Strong growth and balance sheet activity.
- High liquidity.
- Well capitalized and provisioned banking sector.
- Good return and risk measures.
- Strong resilience to financial shocks irrespective of their nature and origins.
- Regional safe heaven for stable and profitable placements.