Beirut- Blom Bank, one of the biggest banks in Lebanon, revealed ongoing talks with the International British Bank HSBC to purchase its Lebanese business. Blom issued a statement on the topic saying that, “A binding agreement has not been reached yet; another announcing shall be made later regarding any updates”.
A source in Blom Bank told Asharq Al-Awsat that negotiations has reached an advanced level so level. “The purchase decision is final and Blom is currently studying HSBC condition as to possessions, clients and destiny of up to 200 employees”, added the source.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, added that HSBC no more considers the Lebanese market lucrative thus this step falls within a plan to decrease the bank’s presence in the Middle East knowing that “the bank has already shut down branches in Libya, Iraq and reduced branches number in the Gulf” continued the source.
He added, “Although the HSBC Lebanon administration is Lebanese yet it abides by decisions of the central administration in London that estimates in its turn the markets’ profits”. The source recalled previous relapses of the bank and financial breaches which it was fined for by the Americans.
This is not the first selling operation and perhaps it will not be the last. In 2013, Lebanese Canadian Bank was shut down and its possessions were sold to Societe Generale following a compromise with a court in south New York following accusations paused by the Department of the Treasury. Also, in February 2016, The Saudi Ahli Commercial bank shut down its Beirut operations; Lebanese banking sources saw this as “a negative indication on the banking and economic levels”.