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BNP Paribas and Sahara Bank kick off their strategic partnership in Libya

Following the announcement of their strategic partnership on October 4th 2007, BNP Paribas and Sahara Bank have congregated Sahara Bank Top 80 managers on January 24th 2008 to effectively kick off their partnership.

A new organisation has been put in place to foster synergies between the two banking Groups.

This new organisation will aim at accelerating business development through the creation of three business lines: Institutional Banking, Corporate Banking and Retail Banking. These business lines will work hand in hand with the Head of Network support & Banking operations (48 branches across the country). Additionally, Sahara Bank functions which will more specifically benefit from BNP Paribas expertise will be reinforced with the creation of specialised support functions: Credit Risk, Bank Transformation (IT and Organization), and other Support Functions.

Several business and operational measures are already undertaken.

To materialise the first synergies, the following actions will be implemented during the first half of 2008:
- reinforcement of services to Corporate clients with the creation of a Trade Center to be part of BNP Paribas Trade Centers network (over 85 worldwide), and of a branch dedicated to large corporate customers;
- launch of a Sahara Bank debit card for individuals and deployment of 12 ATMs throughout the branch network;
- initiation of training programs to professionalise skills and increase customer service;
- roll out of the new Sahara Bank signature, capitalising on the strength of BNP Paribas brand recognized as the 7th most valuable bank brand in the world (source Brand Finance).

IT studies have already been started to ultimately install BNP Paribas international retail banking IT solution, already used in 30 countries and managing over 2 million customers.

Both teams will work together during the next 2 months to define an ambitious action plan.

Over twenty project teams have been formed to detail potential synergies coming from this partnership. These projects involve over 50 senior managers from Sahara Bank and BNP Paribas Group, and will lead to an ambitious development and transformation plan allowing Sahara Bank to become a leading international Libyan bank, setting the standard for the industry in terms of innovation and quality.

Besides the benefits of this partnership for the customers, every Sahara Bank and BNP Paribas employee involved in the partnership is committed to the success of the partnership and will benefit from mutual exchanges whilst laying the foundations for further collaboration and cross development in the region.

About BNP Paribas and Sahara Bank partnership
BNP Paribas has been chosen by the Libyan authorities to become the strategic partner of Sahara Bank in July 2007. Effective since September 18th 2007, this partnership aims at accelerating Sahara Bank business development with the support of BNP Paribas experience and expertise, particularly in the areas of retail banking products and services, project finance, international trade finance, and in the modernisation of IT and support functions (risk management, financial control, organization,…).

About Sahara Bank
Sahara Bank ( is a Libyan universal commercial bank with 1,500 employees and has the largest bank capital in Libya. It has a market share of 17% for loans and 22% for deposits. Its customers, whom it serves through a network of 48 agencies across the country, include large national companies, private enterprises, both Libyan and foreign, and over 300,000 private or professional clients. With BNP Paribas's support and particularly its product expertise and knowledge of cross selling techniques, Sahara Bank's development prospects are promising.

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas ( is a European leader in global banking and financial services and is one of the 4 strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor's. The group is present in over 85 countries, with 161,000 employees, including 125,000 in Europe. The group holds key positions in three major segments: Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset Management & Services and Retail Banking. Present throughout Europe in all of its business lines, the bank's two domestic markets in retail banking are France and Italy. BNP Paribas also has a significant presence in the United States and strong positions in Asia and the emerging markets.