In 1994, Credit Libanais became the first bank to merge its operation in Lebanon by acquiring First Phoenician Bank and Capital Trust Bank. In 1996, Credit Libanais became the first Lebanese bank to have its Eurobond listed on an international stock exchange.
On a daily basis, the banks foreign section handles a large volume of letters of credit and money transfers. Its dealing room is active in money placed and money taken, investment in bonds and CDs. Credit Libanais has acted as co-lead manager in numerous international issues in foreign currencies on behalf of the Lebanese government and private institutions.
TBW noted: " the above-mentioned ratings are the highest ratings given to a Lebanese bank. They reflect Credit Libanais positioning , profitability and ability to structure its activities in conformance with internationally adopted standards, which has enabled it to expand its overall product base.
According to TBW Vice President Nicholas Photiades, " Credit Libanais ratings are partly based on the bank's strong capacity, as well as past performance, in the restructuring and reengineering of its activities. TBW believes that the bank, through its quality management, is highly capable of implementing its long-term strategy, which is realistic and proactive. The existing branch network, which gives Credit Libanais one of the most extensive branch franchises in Lebanon, should contribute significantly towards a rise in profitability and the development of a strong market share in retail activities ".
The initial objective of Credit Libanais to become one of the main players in retail/consumer banking has so far reaped significant benefits, as reflected by a sharp 52% rise in net profits at year end 1999. The bank's ROAA and ROAE appeared much improved at 1.43% and 24.65% over 1998 and the reduction of the cost efficiency ratio from 69.5% in 1998 to 59.9% in 1999, reflected a successful advance in the restructuring program. CL should face the future with confidence, as it has established an efficient and modern internal infrastructure, which should guarantee a steadily rising income stream for the coming years.
Asset quality has remained constant over the last few years. Non performing loan coverage was adequate at 75%, while the proportion of bad loans to gross loans decreased significantly from 26.5% in 1998 to 11.8% in 1999. Liquidity was very high, with liquid assets covering more than 80% of deposits. Funding is recurrent, as the bank benefits from a large domestic branch network and a wide range of retail products, which continuously attract deposits.
Capitalization can be regarded as one of the highest in the country, with a BIS CAR of 16.73%, and equity/assets and equity/loans ratios of 5.9% and 25.65% respectively.
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