Masraf Al-Rayan eyes Libyan expansion

Qatari Islamic bank looking for 'commercial and investment banking opportunities' in Libya.
Masraf Al-Rayan eyes Libyan expansion
By Reuters
Thu 05 Jun 2008 10:06 AM

Qatari Islamic bank Masraf Al-Rayan said on Thursday it was seeking approval from its country's central bank to open a representative office in North African oil-producing nation Libya.

Libya, with a population of 5 million and the biggest holder of oil reserves in Africa, is moving to modernise its banking system but faces an uphill task in a command economy where cash is still king, firms struggle to get credit and reforms can fall prey to influential opponents.

Masraf, the fourth-largest lender in Qatar by market value, said in a statement on the Doha bourse website it was looking to enter the Libyan market in order to carry out commercial and investment banking activities.

Qatar National Bank, Qatar's largest bank by assets, said in April it had opened an office in Libya as part of regional expansion plans, and Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank said last month an affiliate had won approval to operate in the North African country.

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