Syria is attempting to bring global banking brands into the country.
It has, for the first time, allowed international companies to own a majority share in banks operating in Syria. That means – for example – HSBC could open ‘HSBC Syria’ and own 60% of it. Before, it was limited to a minority stake of 49%, which was dissuading companies from entering.
Until now the liberalisation of Syria’s banking sector has been successful, but limited to regional banks. Jordanian, Lebanese, Saudi and Kuwaiti banks have been the dominant players (like Lebanon’s Byblos Bank – above). It looks like the market is soon going to open up even more.