Libya picks banks qualified for licence bids

Libya’s Central Bank said three European banks and three Arab banks from the Gulf region had qualified for joint-venture bank licence bids. The central bank had said in early February it would allow foreigners to open joint-venture banks with local investors for the first time in 40 years.

European banks such as Unicredito SpA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc were picked to submit bids alongside Arab banks Qatar Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank and National Bank of Dubai.

The central bank has set June 15 as the deadline for the six to submit the required documents.

Libya has a total of 19 banks, including four devoted to specific banking services, such as Rural Bank, which focuses on microcredits, and Savings and Real Estate Investment Bank, specialising in banking services for real estate and housing, according to local Libyan bankers.