Banking 2013: Looking for better horizons articles

Too many banks?

Too many banks?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Towering above the country’s gross national product at some three times the size, Lebanon’s banks deposits (about $127 billion in 2012) make up much of their balance sheets’ liabilities.  The loan part has been solid and the policy on lending in Lebanese banks is extremely conservative. For example, a minimum of 25 percent down payment

Lebanon’s four newest banks

Reading Time: 11 minutes Political turbulence and economic uncertainty have not stopped new banks from opening their doors in Lebanon. For this month’s special report on the banking sector, Executive spoke to the general managers of four debutante institutions — Cedrus Invest, LiBank, Lucid Investment and Optimum Invest — with an aim to assess their performance, strategies, goals and

The art of banking

Reading Time: 5 minutes As Raymond Audi, chairman of Bank Audi, Lebanon’s largest bank, walked me through the four floors of their headquarters in Downtown Beirut, I would have thought I was in a major contemporary art gallery were it not for the bankers conducting their daily activities. Banks across the world are building art collections and multi-million dollar

‘Painters are not paid what they deserve’

Reading Time: 4 minutes Standing six meters tall, French artist Jean Dubuffet’s blue, red, white and black sculpture decorates the entrance of the Beirut headquarters of Bank Audi, Lebanon’s largest bank. It is one among many modern pieces that adorn the head office. Old masters’ paintings also feature in Bank Audi’s corporate art collection on display in their offices

Credit crunched

Reading Time: 3 minutes Loans have divided societies throughout history, between people who consider them a beneficial product that allows customers to purchase goods they need now and pay for later in the future, and others like Thomas Jefferson who believe “that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but

Banks fleeing the storm

Reading Time: 4 minutes Lebanese bankers are sailing off to foreign shores to generate growth in profits as turbulence rattles their home country and cripples their neighbours next door. The blood being spilled in Syria is rising daily with no end in sight. The repercussions on government-less Lebanon go beyond an economic suffocation as violent clashes have again taken

Bank to the future

Reading Time: 3 minutes Trying to achieve anything online in Lebanon can be a frustrating ordeal, so perhaps it’s no surprise that real growth of electronic banking has been late to emerge. According to several Lebanese banks surveyed by Executive, e-banking usage by their customers has increased in the past five years to between 25 and 30 percent, roughly

A lack of credit

Reading Time: 6 minutes Whether for the season’s latest couture, that fancy dinner or more significant bills such as our children’s school tuition, plastic cards are popping out of our wallets three times more frequently than they did five years ago. According to Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, there are 600,000 credit cards and more than 1

A weighty responsibility

Reading Time: 3 minutes In February, thieves stole $45 million from thousands of ATMs worldwide in a matter of hours. In New York City alone, 2,904 machines were hacked, yielding $2.4 million. According to Brooklyn’s federal prosecutor, information used to carry out the hack was initially located in India, but the withdrawals were made from ATMs using Visa and