Lebanese BLOM (Banque du Liban et d’Outre-Mer) Bank’s first-quarter net profit rose 12.2% to $63.3m, assets grew by $612m in the quarter to stand at $18.5bn at end-March, and customer deposits went up $698m to $15.7bn, surpassing even the bank’s own expectations partly based on strong deposit growth, according to the bank’s chairman and general manager, Saad Azhari.  Labenon’s banking sector as a whole has been largely immune from the global financial crisis because of its tight regulation and cautious risk management.  Accordingly, the sector has realized an increase in deposits from expatriates, despite warnings from economists that deposit growth will slow along with the world economy.

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