Under New Management, MEAB strives to become an Alpha Bank in Lebanon
On Monday, 15 June 2015, Mr. Ali Hejeij was selected as MEAB’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors. He proudly states, “Within four years, we moved to the top Beta banks in Lebanon. So our next target is to become, in the coming years, part of the Alpha banks in Lebanon.” Furthermore, Mr. Hejeij firmly and confidently reassures MEAB’s loyal customers as well as shareholders that, “We will continue to apply the applicable international anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism banking standards. These efforts include following the requirements of the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations sanctions lists, and employing EastNet’s state-of-the-art SafeWatch® System.”
Prior to becoming MEAB’s CEO, Mr. Ali Hejeij had been involved with MEAB as a shareholder. He is also the Chairman of The Coral Beach, an iconic hotel and resort in Beirut, Lebanon. As the new Chairman, he steadfastly declares that, “As we look ahead, the Bank remains committed to sustainable growth. By expanding our branches network locally and regionally, by increasing our customer base through the introduction of new products and services, by further strengthening our strategic relationships, and by ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements, we are eager to continue providing our customers with safe and sound banking.”
MEAB also announced last month the expansion of their executive management team to include Mr. Nabih Haddad as MEAB’s new General Manager. Mr. Haddad has more than 30 years of experience serving prominent financial institutions in the United States, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Under his leadership, MEAB will continue to provide safe and secure financial services to its customers and partners.
MEAB’s Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) programs comply with the requirements of both the Banque du Liban and the international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In addition to screening customers and transactions against the requirements of the Banque du Liban, MEAB also screens its banking activity against the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, the UN sanctions lists and the EU sanctions lists, among others, using EastNet’s state-of-the-art SafeWatch® System.
The bank’s adherence to these standards is overseen by the Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering Committee which reviews and approves all compliance procedures. The committee is comprised of the most senior executives of the bank including the general manager, deputy general manager, head of compliance, and head of internal audit, head of risk management and head of operations. Additionally, the Board of Directors approves all AML/CFT policies and procedures. The bank also has a dedicated compliance team at each MEAB branch that is overseen by MEAB’s corporate compliance officer. Moreover, all bank employees receive extensive training in AML/CTF when they are hired and participate in additional training annually.
MEAB also seeks the high standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct. Maintaining full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations related to their businesses and reporting results with accuracy and transparency are considered basic standards that govern MEAB’s daily activities. The Board of Directors has implemented a Corporate Governance Code, which was developed in line with the standards issued by the Central Bank of Lebanon and the supervisory regime as well as international best practices. This framework promotes fair relationships between the bank’s Management Team, its Board of Directors, its Shareholders and other Stakeholders. MEAB’s corporate governance is designed to enhance the performance of the bank. By establishing and maintaining a corporate culture that motivates directors and managers to maximize MEAB’s operational efficiency, MEAB is able to ensure a strong return on investment and long-term growth while ensuring the bank’s compliance to the required laws.
MEAB was founded as a family-owned commercial bank in Lebanon in 1991. Since opening the first branch in Verdun, MEAB has expanded from a small, corporate bank to a full-service bank with 19 branches throughout Lebanon and 2 in Iraq. Today MEAB enjoys a reputation for high-quality services and standards, and a strong record of modernization and growth.
MEAB began with a LL 12 billion portfolio but has expanded exponentially to a portfolio worth LL 156 billion. Since 2009, the bank’s deposits have grown each year by 35-40 percent. In 2009, Bilanbanques upgraded MEAB’s ranking to Beta group and was named the “Fastest Growing Bank in Lebanon” by Banker Middle East Industry Awards in 2011 and was named “Best Private Bank in Lebanon” by the World Finance Banking Awards in 2012.
With the focus on achieving sustainable, profitable growth, while improving quality services, the MEAB continues its domestic expansion with the objective of expanding its distribution network and increasing its product penetration in all its services including Retail Banking, SME and Commercial Banking, Private Banking, and Insurance Services. Offering the best banking experience to its customers and correspondents with a promise of creating value to shareholders and employees, it strives to become one of Lebanon’s top banks, employers, and partners of choice by safely and consistently delivering the right products and services to its customers.
Together, MEAB’s new CEO, Mr. Ali Hejeij and its new General Manager, Mr. Nabih Haddad continue their hike to make MEAB become one of Lebanon’s Alpha banks.