The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Middle East: Lebanese banks step back from Syria

Several banks write off Syrian operations; they continue to be big shareholders.

The Syrian central bank prevents Lebanese banks from closing operations
in the country

Lebanese banker Georges Sayegh has long been associated with Blom Bank, the Beirut-headquartered financial institution. In 2004, when Blom set up Bank of Syria and Overseas (BSO), its Syrian operation, he was its first general manager. To this day he remains Blom’s representative on the board of BSO, as well as an adviser to the general management of Blom.

But that is about to change. During a recent meeting in Beirut, he told Euromoney that, at the next general meeting of the board of BSO in Damascus, he would step down from the board. He will then seek re-election as an individual rather than as a representative of Blom.

“My seat will no longer say Blom Bank, it will say Georges Sayegh,” he explains. He smiles and with his fingers mimics a pair of scissors cutting through what links the two banks. 

His decision is symptomatic of a wider trend. Lebanon’s big banks, which have had a large presence in Syria ever since that country’s banking privatization drive in the early 2000s, are beginning to distance themselves from it. 

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree