Press Releases

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program Expands in Lebanon

In Cairo
Souleymane Traore

Phone: + (202) 461-9140/45/50 ext. 203


In Washington, D.C.

Rita Jupe

Phone: + (202) 458-8967


Washington, D.C., May 15, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that Bank of Beirut SAL has joined its Global Trade Finance Program.  Bank of Beirut SAL is one of the leading private commercial banks in Lebanon.

The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.

Farida Khambata, IFC’s vice president for portfolio and risk management, said, “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will support Bank of Beirut’s expanding trade finance business. The increasing number of participant banks in the program paves the way for developing countries like Lebanon to increase their share of global trade through this wide network of correspondent banks.”

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program offers confirming banks partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks. The program allows issuing banks to increase the volume and value of trade transactions with enhanced tenors and access to competitive pricing terms.

IFC’s first engagement with Bank of Beirut was in 1997 with an eight-year credit line for industrial and housing loans for Lebanese private sector businesses and individuals.

Salim G. Sfeir, Bank of Beirut SAL’s chairman-general manager, said, “Joining IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program means Bank of Beirut can further expand its network of correspondent banks, which creates new opportunities for our clients.”

Bank of Beirut’s participation as an issuing bank in Lebanon has expanded the coverage provided by IFC’s GTFP particularly to support intraregional trade in the Middle East and North Africa. Worldwide, the Global Trade Finance Program has issued guarantees worth $150 million since it began operations in September 2005.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. For more information, visit

As of December 31, 2005, Bank of Beirut SAL had total assets of LBP 6,502,738 million ($4,313 million), a deposit base of LBP 4,278,366 million ($2,838 million), and Advances of LBP 1,143,906 million ($759 million).

At year end 2005, Bank of Beirut SAL had total shareholder equity (excluding net profits for the year) of LBP 527,466 million ($350 million) and pretax profit of LBP 52,760 million ($35 million). For more information, visit

Bank of Beirut:
In Beirut, Lebanon:
Amal Houry
Phone: +961 1 738 768 Ext. #160