Lebanon's Best Bank for Asia 2019
Fransabank can claim a number of impressive firsts in Asia. It was the first Lebanese bank to establish a China desk, capable of handling all transactions flowing between the two countries, including those priced in renminbi. The desk plays an integral role in finding viable inbound projects for Chinese firms, and identifying mainland partners for its local clientele.
The Beirut-based lender, chaired by Adnan Kassar, was chosen in July 2018 as one of just five founding members of the China-Arab Countries Interbank Association, a multilateral group created by China Development Bank, which aims to channel up to $3 billion into development deals.
In November 2018, Fransabank was the first Lebanese lender to join the Asian Financial Cooperation Association, a China-led non-profit organization that encourages cooperation and communication between financial institutions from 30 countries. It is also collaborating with UnionPay to bring the Shanghai-based card payment provider’s first branded credit cards to Lebanon, with the aim of introducing the service into other Fransabank markets across the region.
Central to the bank’s strength in Asia is its expanding network of correspondent banks, which consists of nine lenders across seven Asian markets – including Japan, Korea, China and India – and is used to offer services including factoring and forfaiting, as well as letters of credit and guarantees.
Fransabank handled 315 LCs with partner banks in Asia in 2018, collectively worth $411 million.