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Trade finance expansion

Lebanon’s BLC Bank is being partnered by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group to help increase trade fi nance for businesses in Lebanon, expanding economic activity in the region.

Under the agreement, BLC Bank becomes an issuing bank as part of the IFC Global Trade Finance Programme, which supports trade with emerging markets and promotes the fl ow of goods and services between developing countries. BLC Bank, a subsidiary of Fransabank Group, is the fourth partner bank to join the programme after Banque Libano-Française, Bank of Beirut, and Fransabank.

Thomas Jacobs, IFC principal country officer for Lebanon, said, “Working with BLC Bank is in line with IFC’s strategy in Lebanon to expand access of fi nance to the corporate sector with a special focus to small-andmedium enterprises.”

BLC Bank will use the facility to increase trade finance offerings to expand its transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks, thus supporting its clients, including SMEs, which help drive job creation.

IFC provides partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks. It has been an active supporter of Lebanon’s fi nancial sector, and has provided trade guarantees worth more than $482m to Lebanese banks since the programme’s inception in fi scal year 2006. In fi scal year 2009, IFC committed more than $184m.

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