Lebanon Businessnews News

Two lists face-off
in ABL elections
Sfeir leads a ‘List for Change’ VS.

Torbey’s ‘Banking Decision List’

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Salim Sfeir, Chairman of Bank of Beirut, is spearheading a list of eight bankers against the list of four-time Chairman of Association of Banks in Lebanon, Joseph Torbey.

With his “List for Change”, Sfeir promised to “carry out a series of reform measures to improve the efficiency and performance of ABL.”

Sfeir is planning to follow up the issue of U.S. sanctions with American officials. His criticism was that middle-sized and smaller banks have no say in the ABL’s agenda.

Fadi Daouk, Chairman of Executive General Manager of Banque Misr Liban (BML) Bank and a member of the “List for Change, said: “It is time for change. There should be room for everybody to express their opinions.”

Daouk said that the previous board of ABL has done “a great job, but it’s time for the smaller banks to get a say in important matters.”

In addition to Daouk, Sfeir’s list comprises Fadi Assali, Chairman of Cedrus Bank, Jean Riachi, Chairman of FFA Private Bank, Mario Saradar, Chairman of Saradar Bank, Samer Itani, General Manager of LGB Bank, Tarek Khalife Chairman of CreditBank, and Wael el Zein, Chairman of Lucid Investment Bank. Four positions, out of the 12 board seats, were left for big banks.

Torbey is generally supported by the largest banks. Charing ABL in 2001-2003, 2003-2005, 2009-2011, and 2011-2013, He is the Chairman and General Manager of Credit Libanais since 1988.

His list comprises Freddie Baz, Vice-chairman of the Bank Audi Group, Saad Azhari, Chairman of BLOM Bank Group, Semaan Bassil, Chairman of Byblos Bank, Nadim Kassar, General Manager of Fransabank, Antoun Sehnaoui, Chairman of Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), Mohammed Hariri, Chairman of Bankmed, Walid Raphael, Chairman of Banque Libano-Française (BLF), Ghassan Assaf, Chairman of Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries (BBAC), Tanal Sabbah, Chairman of the Lebanese Swiss Bank, Abdul Razzak Achour, Chairman of Fenicia Bank, and Varouj Nerguizian, Chairman of Emirates Lebanon Bank. Many of these executives are current members of ABL’s board.

Torbey said: “Our list does not carry much change in the members but our goal at this stage is to protect banks and increase the achievements we have done during our mandate.”

His program includes providing a wide representation of all banks, facing the critical regional circumstances that impact the banking activity.

“Our list will also work on activating ABL’s role in the economy and increasing collaboration with different economic bodies,” he said.

Torbey said: “It’s true that large banks only represent 15 percent of the sector (in terms of number of banks) but they carry 80 percent of the market.”

He said that no bank, big or small, is left behind in our work.

“We tell our fellow colleagues that the [ABL presidency and executive committee] are not monopolized. The door is open for everyone to step forth because our goal is to preserve the association’s unity,” he said.

This is the first time in 23 years that the ABL holds an election. Previously, the chairman and board were appointed through consensus.

Elections will be held on June 30.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jun 23, 2017
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