Profits of Syrian affiliates of Lebanon banks sink 98.2%

Profits of Lebanese banks operating in Syria in the first three months of 2013 fell by 98.2 percent to $640,000 from $49.8 million in the same period of 2012. That was compared to aggregate net losses of 489.5 million pounds in the fourth quarter of 2012. The aggregate shareholders’ equity of the seven banks reached 35.3 billion pounds, or $406.5 million, at end-March 2013, unchanged from end-2012. The banks’ total operating income reached 4.7 billion pounds in the first quarter of 2013, down 35.7 percent from 7.3 billion pounds in the same period last year. Lebanese banks in Syria have increased provisions for nonperforming loans, though they realize this will affect profits considerably. All of the Lebanese banks said they had no intention of withdrawing from the Syrian market now or in the future because they believed the situation would get back to normal eventually.