BEIRUT: Blom Bank reported a 5 percent increase in net profit for 2013 to $353 million, despite what it said were difficult conditions in Lebanon, which has suffered an economic slowdown since the 2011 outbreak of war in neighboring Syria.
Total assets rose 4.3 percent to $26.15 billion, while deposits grew 3.6 percent to $22.57 billion. Loans to customers increased by 5.3 percent to $6.34 billion, the bank said.
Lebanon’s two other major banks, Audi and Byblos, both reported falls in 2013 net profit this week. Bank Audi’s 15.6 percent drop was its second year of decrease.
Bank of Beirut, however, saw its profits in 2013 jump by 6.4 percent to $148 million.
The banking sector, a central pillar of Lebanon’s services-dominated economy, has been hit by a slowdown since the start of the Syrian conflict.
Francois Bassil, the president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, told The Daily Star that the profits of sector could fall in 2014 if political and economic conditions in the country did not change.
Syria’s civil war has fuelled sectarian violence inside Lebanon, curbed investment and contributed to political paralysis since the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government 10 months ago.