Francois Bassil’s indignation at the state of Lebanese politics in the early 1960s resulted in him exploring alternative career opportunities. Since establishing Byblos Bank in 1963, he has grown the bank into one of Lebanon’s biggest institutions, and is now chairman and general manager. In the past four decades, he has pioneered personal loans in the country, merged the bank with several rivals and established a separate bank in Belgium. As chairman of the Association of Lebanese Banks, Bassil has repeatedly warned how the country’s fractured politics are affecting the economy. The fragile political situation has already resulted in government treasury bills, which represent a significant income stream for the banking sector, falling in value by 10 per cent. He supports the reform programme announced in September 2007. He has expanded the bank into Syria and Armenia and plans to expand into Iraq.