Industry: Banking & Finance
Company: Central Bank of Lebanon
The list of challenges that Lebanon faces is immense.
But the list would be even longer if Riad Salameh had not been at the helm of the country’s central bank for the past decade or so. In 2004, he forbade Lebanese banks from investing in exotic derivatives and subprime lending, which shielded local lenders from the worst of the post-Lehman Brothers fallout. A prudent monetary policy, coupled with high interest rates have seen an increase in bank deposits, although the fear of contagion from neighboring Syria has stalled Lebanon’s economic growth. More positively, the country has pulled back from a potential debt crisis, with debt-to-GDP declining to 130 percent, from 180 percent in 2006. If the Lebanese economy is to regain its feet, Salameh will be crucial to its hopes.