Salim Sfeir, or Banking Beyond Borders published L’Orient le Jour, November - 2013
Posted on 27/11/2013
 
Salim Sfeir once more highlights the aim of Bank of Beirut to cross borders and frontiers and land in economically and politically stable countries to serve the Lebanese community no matter where they are. Being in 9 different countries in 4 continents has paid off, according to him, during the period of turmoil in the region. 

The bank in Australia, acquired in Q1-2011, was one of the main events in the history of Bank of Beirut. Getting a full retail bank license in an AAA rated country like Australia, with one of the most conservative regulatory environment, was already a huge challenge. 

Lebanon’s operating environment remains fragile and highly exposed to political risk, admitted Bank of Beirut Chairman; however, the strengths of the banking sector coupled with the wise Central Bank monetary policy is a comfortable cushion. The consolidated net profit for Q3-2013 registered around USD 93 million, a notable year-on-year growth of 17.46%. The Shareholders’ equity stood at USD 1.160 billion, ranking no. 6 among peer group banks and maintaining one of the highest capitalization levels in the market with 10.02% equity to asset ratio. The Bank’s liquidity position is comfortable and supported by a growing base of customer deposits. 

“Knowing how to take the best of it”… are Sfeir’s words. According to him, the situation is precarious in our region as well as in other regions in the world, but one must know how to take profit of the wars economically speaking. 

Sfeir concludes by saying that people complain about the decline of tourism, “But what kind of tourism are they talking about?” The people who can afford will choose other destinations for the winter or summer sports and leisure; the same thing applies for shopping, quite expensive in Lebanon compared to other European countries. Thus, this kind of tourism is no more interesting for our country; we should aim at other kinds of tourism: medical and educational. Our state-of-the-art hospitals compete very easily with those of the other countries, as for our schools and universities; they are to be developed to attract students and pupils of the region. 
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