The Secretariat General
Participation of the Association to a number of Councils and Commissions
It is the technical and administrative organ in charge of the business executive and daily responsibility, on the basis of the decisions and the instructions of the Board of Directors, under the direct supervision of the Secretary General.
As for the Secretary General, the Board of Directors designates him/her, with the majority of eight members at least. Then the Board submits the name of the designated association to the General Assembly for endorsement. In case of refusal of such endorsement, the decision for the designation of the Secretary General is considered as null and void.
The Secretary General heads the technical and administrative organ of the Association. The Secretary General also designates the employees and the experts who are needed for the good functioning of the work. The Secretary General submits periodical reports to the Board of Directors and prepares the annual budget project and the report of closing accounts. Moreover, the Secretary General takes part in the meetings of all consultative commissions and provides assistance to all the members of the Association in their professional relationships, among themselves and with the ABL, the Banque du Liban (Central Bank) and the governmental institutions.
The structure of the Secretariat General
comprises 4 directorates:
- Administrative and financial directorate
- Directorate of studies and statistics
- Directorate of human resources development
- Directorate of communication and public relations
Communication and PR
The Association of Banks in Lebanon is represented by a large number of Councils and Commissions, among which:
- The Social and Economic Council
- The Board of Directors of the National Social Security Fund
- The financial commission of the National Social Security Fund
- The Board of Directors of the National Office for Employment
- The Board of Directors of the Institute for Industrial Research
- The National Commission to enact the right to work for the disabled (Ministry of Labor)
- The National Commission of Voluntarism (Ministry of Social Affairs)
- The National Commission to facilitate Transportation and Trade (Ministry of Trade and Economy)
- National Coordination Commission for the project of the Lebanese Center for the rational use of energy (Ministry of Energy)
- Joint Commission between the Ministry of Finance and economic institutions
- Three commissions within the Chamber of International Trade – Lebanon: The Commission of Environment, the Banking Commission, and the Anti-Corruption and Bribery commission in the international trade operations.
- Center of International Arbitration
- Union of Arab Banks
- Banking Control Commission (by virtue of Law No 28/67)
- Higher Banking Commission (by virtue of Law No 28/67)
On the media level, the Association sees to strengthen communications and relationships with officials responsible for economic issues in various Lebanese mass medias, thus providing an ongoing and overall coverage of the Association’s activities and the publishing of the Association’s positions. The Association publishes a monthly bulletin distributed within Lebanon and the Almanac of Banks in Lebanon which is updated annually. The Directorate of studies and statistics prepare a monthly periodical in English (The Economic Letter), which comprises a concise presentation for the development of the most important sectors in the Lebanese economy, with statistical tables, distributed over a number of banks, institutions, personalities and establishments in Lebanon and abroad, the Key Indicators are also prepared on monthly basis; the evolution of the portfolio of Treasury Bills in LBP and foreign currencies is also developed and the Annual Report. The Association publishes the annual training and rehabilitation program and the series of “The Assocation’s files” which comprises research and studies for financial and banking affairs.
As for documentation and the internal library, the Association has a databank and a media archive whose contents go back to 1990, in addition to a public library, which is rich in specialized publications and periodicals in three languages (Arabic, French and English). Therefore, the Association can put at the disposal of the banking cadres and specialized researchers a sufficient series of documents and references which may be useful to them.
The Association continues to update the contents of its website (www.abl.org.lb). The websurfer can then have the possibility to read, in three languages (Arabic, French, and English), the Members’ guide, the structure of the Association and its Secretariat General, the structure, management and commissions of the Council. S/He also has the possibility to access various services it provides, activities it organizes, and publications it publishes, in addition to the text of the collective labor agreement which governs the professional relationship between the banks’ administrations and their employees.
Collective Labor Agreement
Banks concentrate their efforts on the development of their human resources, first, to be able to go in pair with the current development of the banking industry; second, to face the expected future challenges, whether on the regional or on the international level, in the light of the economy globalization and the eventual constitution of regional markets, blocks, and conventions.
In this regard, the Association of Banks in Lebanon is active on two levels:
a- The Human Resources Development department,
In its continuous quest to better serve the banking sector and its human capital, the secretariat general has created in April 2016 within its structure a Human Resources Development (HRD) department to grow beyond its training service capabilities.
This department aims to develop the HR departments in banks by coordinating with concerned parties on banking industry trends and employment legislations. Its goal is to assist and support banks in implementing best HR competency based practices and provide them with relevant statistical data and metrics while ensuring their compliance with HR resolutions, namely the Collective Labor Agreement.
Accordingly, the Human Resources Development department role will encompass the following sections:
1- Organizational Development
Assist banks in designing talent management / succession planning, compensation, grading systems and performance management programs based on best practices.
2- Corporate Social Responsibility
Assist banks to become more sustainable and socially responsible in addressing areas such as employees’ wellness, energy use, waste reduction, carbon footprint, civic role, capacity building, etc…
3- Learning and Development
Keep organizing training activities (conferences, workshops, intensive seminars, short courses, internal training sessions…) for employees of the banking sector while covering all Lebanese territories, according to a training calendar agreed upon with ABL / HR committee and approved by the board of directors at the association. The purpose of these activities remains to keep up with the latest practices, legislations and regulations in the banking profession, as well as to raise the level of professionalism among the employees of the Lebanese banking sector, which consist one of the advantages that enhances its competitiveness.
b – The Higher Institute for Banking Studies (ISEB)
: The Institute began its work at the beginning of the 2013-2014 university year. It delivers a professional degree and master. The Institute fulfills all commitments undertaken by the Centre for Banking Studies after it has finalized the necessary legal and technical documentation for the official authorization, and also keeps the old center archives which lasted over 46 years. We note that the functions of the Institute comprehend education and training.
At the level of higher education, which is the main activity of the Institute, its purpose being to ensure effective academic preparation for students and prepare them for integration in the financial sector, including banks, and to participate in business development. Training at the Institute combines the knowledge and technology on the one hand, and the experience and practical training, on the other hand. The partnership between the Saint-Joseph University and the Association of Banks in Lebanon provides the ISEB the most appropriate programs for academic training in banking. The degree and the master diplomas under the Higher Institute for Banking Studies were designed to provide skills that qualify the student to rapidly cope in financial and banking functions that require a degree of maturity, a sense of responsibility and the ability to communicate, by all means available, in a clearly and accurate manners.
At the level of the training, the Institute organizes specialized training sessions, in Beirut and in the Mohafazat, and invites banks to designate a number of its employees to register. The advantage of training at the Institute lies in the tests established at the end of the training session to assess the level of knowledge acquired during the course.
There is a collective labor agreement governing the relationship between the banks’ administrations and employees. It is the first of its type in Lebanon and in the Arab world, the execution of which started at the beginning of 1972 after the signature of the first formula on November 22, 1971. The said agreement stipulates the positions of employees within the banking sector, as well as their scale of salaries, allowances, indemnities, bonuses, vacations, and loans granted to them. It also stipulates the conditions of general professional discipline.
Coordination between the Lebanese economic bodies
The Agreement stipulates, in its 2008-2009 version, an amendment of the ranks and scale of salaries of employees, insisting on the evaluation of the employees’ performance, on their ongoing training and on the link between the ranks and the classification of positions. The Agreement also allows the banking sector’s employees to benefit from various allowances and compensations, as the additional family compensation, the educational grants (schools and universities) which are higher than those granted in both the public and private sectors, and transportation compensation calculated on the basis of the distance between the place of work and the place of residence, which are the best adopted compensations in this regard, in addition to the grants for marriage and birth.
In the same context, the Agreement stipulates mechanisms to provide periodical increases to the employees’ wages and the principles to benefit from the different special, administrative and illness leaves, and to the medical care allowances (medical and hospitalization costs), exceeding, by a certain proportion, those granted by the National Social Security Fund.
The Agreement defines the working hours within the banking sector, the general discipline rules, and the types of awards and penalties. It also maintains the right of the representatives elected by the employees in the exercise of the syndicate work. At the same time, it stipulates a joint commission of mediation and arbitration from both parties, to settle any conflict which may emerge about the interpretation of the Agreement’s texts.
There is a special annex to the collective labor agreement regarding the system of university, residence and personal loans, granted by the banks to its employees (the types, the conditions, and the terms).
If the Collective Labor Agreement has organized the relationship between banks and their employees during their service careers, the other concern remains. It is the case of the hospitalization after they reach retirement age and leave the service. The Association of Banks felt the concerned anxiety of retired employees for a long time. Consequently, the Collective Labor Agreement for the years 2013-2014 also approved for employees to benefit from the hospitalization services after they reach retirement age. The applied mechanism for this system has been developed, and approved during the signing of the renewal of that Agreement for the period 2016-2017, on December 21st, 2016.
This Agreement which is renewed every two years following bilateral negotiations expresses the intention of the Association to consolidate the fruitful and constructive cooperation between the parties in the banking sector, in order to guarantee, for the employees in the banking sector, decent living conditions and for the banking institution, stability and growth to strengthen the sector’s role in promoting the country and achieving social-economic development.
The Association of Banks in Lebanon is a founding and active member in the gathering of the Lebanese Economic bodies. Since the creation of this gathering, the Association has taken part efficiently in the drafting of working papers or the drafting of unified concepts expressing the opinion of these bodies regarding projects, procedures, and attitudes raised by the official authorities. Within this frame, the Association has, with the remaining economic bodies, clear and defined positions regarding the economic and financial reforming programs, accompanying Paris Conference in its three phases, and regarding the different political and security events exerting pressure on the economic life within the country and impeding production and growth. The Association, in addition to the economic commission, continues to exert democratic pressure, through press conferences and statements, and through objective visits and dialogues with the different officials, in order to consolidate civil peace and anchor stability, as two necessary conditions to achieve increasing growth, as well as balanced and sustainable development for the whole country.