Torbey: Banks are most vital sector in Lebanon

File - Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks Joseph Torbey in Beirut, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: A leading banker said Friday that banks were the only thing in Lebanon that would not be subject to a collapse.

“In Lebanon, everything is subject to collapse or setback, with the exception of the banking sector. 2013 was the worst year for the country. We had the resigned Cabinet, the failure to form a new government, the tense security situation in the region, which affected Lebanon, and yet the banks achieved growth in deposits and loans,” Joseph Torbey, the president of the World Union of Arab Bankers, told participants at a conference in Beirut.

He stressed that the strength of the Lebanese economy could be attributed to the banking sector, adding that lenders employed 22,000 staff, 72 percent of which have university degrees.

Although nearly all economic factors fell sharply in 2013, the robust banking sector managed to increase deposits between 6 to 7 percent.

He called on banks to enhance the capabilities of their staff in order to maintain growth.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 25, 2014, on page 4.




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