Beirut, Lebanon, October 25, 2005
The International Finance Corporation today announced that Banque Libano-Française
SAL has become the first bank in Lebanon to join its Global Trade Finance
Program. Banque Libano-Française SAL is one of the leading private
commercial banks in the country.
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.
Michael Essex, IFC’s Acting Director for the Middle East and North Africa,
said, “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will support Banque Libano-Française’s
expanding trade finance business. The increasing number of participant
banks in the program paves the way for countries like Lebanon to increase
their share of global trade through this wide network of correspondent
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.
Farid Raphaël, Banque Libano-Française SAL’s Chairman-General Manager,
said, “Banque Libano-Française has always been a pioneer in financing
the private sector in Lebanon. By joining IFC’s Global Trade Finance
Program, we will expand once again our network of correspondent banks,
which creates new opportunities for our clients.”
The announcement came during a signing ceremony in Beirut on October 25,
chaired by His Excellency, Sami Haddad, Minister of Economy and Trade,
Government of Lebanon.
IFC’s first engagement with Banque Libano-Française was in 1996 with an
eight-year credit line for industrial and housing loans for Lebanese private
sector businesses and individuals.
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 $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Banque Libano-Française SAL started its commercial banking operations in
1930 as branch of a French bank, the Compagnie Algerienne de Credit et
de Banque, which became later the Compagnie Française de Credit et de Banque
(CFCB). In 1967, the branch became a bank established under the Lebanese
Law. The bank’s primary focus is on short- and medium-term lending to
support the private sector companies and international trade, and is one
of the leading service providers in retail and private banking. The bank
will continue to be active in these sectors and to diversify its product
offering catering to the retail sector and consumer banking as well as
to its large and medium size companies and professionals. The trade finance
activities target the various industries and sectors of the Lebanese economy.
BLF is considered as one of the top banks in Lebanon, enjoying very
high credit quality, as reflected in its strong balance sheet figures.
The bank maintains strong correspondent banking relationships with globally
respected banks and is an active participant in various multilateral trade
facilitation programs provided by agencies such as ATFP and IFC. The Global
Trade Finance Program will help importers and exporters specifically in
respect of transactions with longer tenors.
As of June 30 2005, Banque Libano-Française SAL had total assets of LBP
5,266,152 million (US$ 3,493 million), a deposit base of LBP 4,574,121
million (US$ 3,034 million), and advances of LBP 1,823,482 million (US$
As at year end 2004, Banque Libano-Française SAL had total shareholders
equity (excluding net profits for the year) of LBP 378,113 million (US$
251 million) and pre-tax profit of LBP 33,419 million (US$ 22.2 million).
For more information, visit www.eblf.com