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Byblos Bank, Lebanon’s third largest lender, Thursday said its 2009 full-year net profit rose 20% to $146.1 million from $122 million a year earlier.

Total assets grew 21% to $13.6 billion at the end of 2009 from $11.2 billion at the end of 2008, the bank said in an emailed statement.

Customer deposits climbed 23% to $10.3 billion from $8.4 billion a year earlier while loans increased 14.5% to $3.2 billion from $2.8 billion.

“Gross non-performing loans represented 2.6% of gross loans and were fully covered by provisions,” Byblos Bank said in the statement.

Similarly Bank Audi, Lebanon’s largest bank in terms of deposits, said on Thursday its 2009 net profit rose 21.4 percent to $289 million.

The bank said in a statement total assets increased by 29.9 percent to $26.5 billion at the end of 2009 from a year ago.

Customer deposits increased by 32.6 percent to $23 billion while earnings per share rose 23.5 percent to $8.

Bank of Beirut, one of the five top banks in Lebanon, said on Thursday its 2009 net profit rose 15 % to $76.3 million . The bank said the rise in profit was mainly due to considerable growth in the bank’s activity in Lebanon and abroad. It added that the bank had seen a remarkable surge in housing loans and loans to the private sector in Lebanon last year.

The growth in profits was also due to the rise in net operational earnings by 12.10 percent while the operational costs rose only by 11.76 percent.

Bank of Beirut’s private equity rose by 53 percent to $800 million in 2009.

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