First National Bank

Founded: 1991
Total Assets*: US$3.51 billion
Customer Deposits*: US$3.09 billion
Ranking by Assets*: 14

(*as of Dec 31, 2021, ABL Almanac 2022, converted at LL1507.5/US$) 


Founded in 1991 under the name Commerce Bank, Lebanon Invest acquired a 62% stake in 2000 and, following a 2002 merger with Société Bancaire du Liban, it was renamed First National Bank (FNB).[1]

FNB has Kuwaiti connections. Khaled Abd al-Hamid al-Saqer, who spent 20 years at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held 10.39% of FNB until his passing in 2020.[2] The Alternative was unable to confirm who now holds his shares. The al-Saqr is a notable Kuwaiti merchant family that has had close ties with the royal family since the 1950s.[3]

Khaled’s brother Mohammad al-Saqer founded United Investments (UI), in which he retains a 1% stake, with this holding company itself having a 7.12% stake in FNB. Mohammad has served as the chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2020. He has also served as Chairman of the Arab Parliament (1999-2005), President of the Council on Arab and International Relations (since 2009), member of the National Assembly of Kuwait (1999-2009), and editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas (1983-1999).[4]

Mohammad al-Saqer’s uncle, Abdallah Hamad al-Saqer, served as FNB’s Chairman until the current chair, Rami Rifaat al-Nimr, took over in 2001.[5]

Al-Nimr is a Nablus-born business magnate with a 14.58% stake in FNB,[6] as well as a 3.18% stake in Byblos Bank.[7]

Rolan Elias Haraoui, the son of former President Elias Haraoui (1989-98), also sits on the FNB board of directors and holds 4.85% of the bank.

Among the other notable shareholders is Ghassan Antoine Yared, a Lebanese expatriate in Ghana since 1993 who has built one of the country’s largest business conglomerates. Yared is also the Honorary Consul of Peru in Ghana and owns 1.27% of FNB.[8]

[1] FNB, ‘FNB Group Profile, about First National Bank Lebanon’, accessed 9 March 2023, https://www.fnb.com.lb/aboutus/Pages/FNB-group-profile-Lebanon.aspx.

[2] Ministry of Justice, ‘Commercial Registry of Lebanon’.

[3] Union of Arab Chambers, ‘Al-Sager Is the New President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry’, UNION OF ARAB CHAMBERS, accessed 9 March 2023, https://uac-org.org/en/News/details/2352/الصقر-رئيسا-جديدا-لغرفة-تجارة-وصناعة-الكويت.

[3] Ibid.

[4] L’Orient Le Jour, ‘Banque – Rami Rifaat El-Nimr Prend La Tête – de La First National Bank’, L’Orient-Le Jour, 30 March 2001, sec. Actualités, https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/331945/Banque_-_Rami_Rifaat_el-Nimr_prend_la_tete__-_de_la_First_National_Bank.html.

[5] Association des Banques du Liban, ‘Almanac of Banks in Lebanon 2022’ (Beirut: Association des Banques du Liban, 2022).

[6] Ministry of Justice, ‘Commercial Registry of Lebanon’, accessed 9 March 2023, http://cr.justice.gov.lb/.

[7] ‘Ghassan Yared | LinkedIn’, accessed 9 March 2023, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ghassan-yared-40060b19/?originalSubdomain=gh.

Correction: A previous version of the article and infographic misrepresented FNB as having economic interests connected to a certain Mohmad Ibrahim Bazzi through a holding company named Africa Middle East Investment Holding SAL. The article and infographic have now been updated to show the correct name of the company with shares in FNB – Africa Investment Holding SAL.


All content provided in this report (the Report) is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or any other professional advice. The Alternative has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided in the Report. However, due to the opacity of available sources of information, The Alternative has relied on the most up to date and self-reported figures from the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) and its member banks, when available. When ABL and banks data was not available, The Alternative relied on physical copies of Lebanon’s commercial registry, online databases and other credible sources. In addition, The Alternative contacted each of the bank’s communications departments for confirmation of data regarding the shareholding and management of said banks. Only Bank Audi and BLOM Bank provided relevant information, both of which have been included in their entirety. Amongst others, the sources of the Report include various commercial registries, official bank websites, online aggregators, databases dedicated to company registration, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Bilanbanques reports, and many others.   

The information provided in the Report is done “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Alternative shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The Alternative does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in the Report. Furthermore, The Alternative shall not be liable for any losses or damages from the display or use of this information. If anyone has information relating to the Report, The Alternative welcomes it. All information sent to The Alternative will undergo a thorough validation process, and the report will be updated accordingly. For any relevant information or inquiries, please contact [email protected].


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