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IFC EXTENDS CREDIT LINE TO FOUR BANKS IN LEBANON —For housing finance and onlending to small businesses—


L. Joseph
Phone: (202) 473-7700
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: ljoseph@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 19—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed agreements in Washington, D.C. today with four private medium-sized banks in Lebanon — Bank of Beirut SAL, Banque Beyrouth pour le Commerce SAL, Banque Saradar SAL, and Transorient Bank SAL — to provide long-term credit facilities totaling US$67.5 million.

The banks will use the credit facilities to increase the scope of their operations, extend project financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and onlend to middle-income consumers for financing the purchase of a first residence or enlarging an existing one.


"The credit line provides long-term financing, which is not otherwise available and also brings the banks up to international standards," said Mr. Andre Hovaguimian, Director of IFC's Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa Department. "It will contribute to the next stage of financial sector development in Lebanon and bridge the gap between the short-term nature of deposits and the long-term needs of borrowers. The credit line will also help banks meet the medium-and long-term financing needs of SMEs for expansion and capital expenditure."


Mr. Hovaguimian added, "It is significant that this project will assist in Lebanon's reconstruction efforts. The credit line will address the acute shortage of houses and housing finance, as IFC did with the previous credit line approved in 1996, amounting to US$120 million."


IFC's financing consists of a loan of US$45 million for its own account and an expected syndicated loan of about US$22.5 million.


The four banks are leading commercial banks with strong financial and market positions and the ability to use the funds effectively for productive investment.


Bank of Beirut SAL was represented at the signing of the agreements by its Chairman and General Manager, Mr. Salim Sfeir; Banque Beyrouth pour le Commerce SAL by its Director and General Manager, Mr. Rami El-Nimer; Banque Saradar SAL by its Deputy Chairman and Deputy General Manager, Mr. Abdo Jeffi and Transorient Bank SAL by its Chairman and General Manager, Mr.Adib S. Millet. Mr. Hovaguimian signed on behalf of IFC.


IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.


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