Banking & Finance articles

Is Lebanon technologically ready to tackle growth?

Is Lebanon technologically ready to tackle growth?

Reading Time: 5 minutes In March 2017, The Economist reported that Intel, the giant American chipmaker, paid $15.3 billion for Mobileye, an Israeli firm at the forefront of developing autonomous-car technology. The deal was not the first to involve an Israeli tech firm attracting foreign buyers, but it was the biggest yet. The Mobileye acquisition is an example of

The financial positioning and performance of alpha banks in 2017

Reading Time: 4 minutes The Alpha Report by Bankdata Financial Services covers 14 banks, each of which have deposits exceeding $2 billion and collectively represent the lion’s share of banking activity—holding 87 percent of the $227 billion in assets at the end of September 2017. Before assessing the performance of Lebanese alpha banks during the first nine months of

A good time to borrow

Reading Time: 11 minutes Home loans account for more than a quarter of local banks’ private sector lending. This is in large part thanks to subsidized loans from Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank,  and loans from the Public Corporation for Housing (PCH), which are offered through local banks to lower-middle and low-income home buyers. A surge in

Freedom of insurance

Reading Time: 6 minutes The Lebanese insurance industry seems to be in need of new energy. Not only in terms of its objective to participate in the covers of the future oil and gas industry, but also in its fundamental development of company structures and legal infrastructure. With low growth in insurance premiums – some 4 percent in 2015

Analysis of banking sector results

Reading Time: 5 minutes The profitability of alpha banks – those with deposits above $2 billion – has grown in the third quarter of 2016 when measured by the improved return on average equity (ROAE). The ROAE ratio at end of September was almost two percentage points higher than a year earlier. This insight from quarterly figures released after

An awfully quiet year

Reading Time: 3 minutes When compared with the banking sector and the initiatives taken by Banque du Liban (BDL), the year was unnervingly quiet for the country’s insurance industry. Preliminary information on the performance of insurance companies suggests that the 4 percent growth in gross premiums to $1.2 billion at the end of the third quarter was low when

A promise of wealth

Reading Time: 6 minutes Oussama Kaissi is the chief executive officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICEIC), the insurance arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The IDB is a Saudi Arabia-based multilateral organization which comprises a group of Islamic institutions in the realm of finance. Executive sat down with Kaissi to

A retrospective

Reading Time: 8 minutes It is understandable that Freddie Baz, the chief strategist of Lebanon’s largest bank, Bank Audi, presented a divergent view from the central bank’s narrative explaining the latter’s financial engineering (see story and infographic). Whereas the analysis picture drawn by Banque du Liban (BDL) focused on the very positive impacts of this quantitative easing measure, Baz

Negative interest rates

Reading Time: 6 minutes Over recent years, central bankers of the world have tried several conventional measures to revive economic growth in the aftermath of the Great Recession and re-establish trust in the financial system, but they have not reaped the results they were hoping for. A few of them decided to go beyond conventional measures and venture into

“To move or not to move?”

Reading Time: 7 minutes This spring there was considerable commotion in Lebanese economic and financial circles as rumors surfaced that the country’s largest bank was engaged in scenario exercises about moving its corporate head office to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The question of the advantages and disadvantages of such a significant relocation decision motivated Philip Karam,