Performance indicators published by the Union of Arab Banks for 1994 show that Lebanese banks are re-emerging as an important force in the Arab banking sector. Fransabank, the fifth largest Lebanese hank, has improved its position in the rankings for asset indicators, net profits, investments, deposits and profit ratios.

Of the top one hundred Arab banks examined in the study, Fransabank has the highest return on shareholders’ equity, at 11971 per cent. However, the level of the bank’s equity is actually low and in 1995 the bank took positive steps to counter this. In the rankings for total assets, Fransabank has advanced to position 74 from position 90; for net profits its position has moved to 45 from 90; it has also made less dramatic improvements in rankings for investments and total deposits.

Byblos Bank has also performed well, giving returns on shareholders’ equity of 45.75 per cent, moving the bank up to fifth position.