Lebanon is a financial hub for banking activities in the Middle East. It has one of the most sophisticated banking sectors in the region. Bank secrecy is strictly enforced. The Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) regulates all financial institutions and money exchange houses. In April 2001, Lebanon adopted Law No. 318, which created a framework for lifting bank secrecy, mandating suspicious transaction reporting, requiring financial institutions to obtain and maintain records of customer identification information, and facilitating access to banking information and records by judicial authorities.
Foreigners can open accounts in banks operating in Lebanon and get credit on market terms. The Banking Control Commission (BCC) closely monitors bank credits. All credit transactions are subject to timely and accurate disclosure. The National Institute for the Guarantee of Deposits insures up to LL 5 million (about $3,317) of Lebanese and foreign currency deposits in commercial banks. Bank financial statements are in compliance with international accounting standards. Independent auditors audit annual accounts, and most banks utilize internationally recognized accounting firms.