ABANA is the preeminent US organization for finance professionals and institutions with interest in the Middle East and North Africa.
ABANA’s global membership represents a diverse network of professionals who work in commercial and private banking, asset management and real estate, private equity and venture capital, consulting, legal and other fields related to the financial services industry. Its members reflect the professional and geographic diversity of an increasingly interconnected global economy, and they are drivers behind many of today’s discussions around emerging and frontier markets.
A nonprofit association, ABANA is best known for its robust calendar of events, meetings and discussions that provide its members with new professional connections, access to timely business intelligence and direct contact to other global business leaders. ABANA programs highlight many of today’s most compelling perspectives on financial markets, investment opportunities and risk. The organization provides our members from the MENA region with a focused platform that enables them to connect to the right audience when in the United States, and we have a range of programs aimed at fostering the next generation of industry leaders with interests in the Middle East and North Africa.
History & Members
ABANA was founded as the “Arab Bankers Association of North America” by a group of dedicated individuals—Issa Baconi, Monir Barakat, Fakhruddin Khalil, Hutham S. Olayan, Fadi Saab and Charles Yeterian—who identified the need for an organization to foster professional exchange and promote the business interests of the Arab and Arab-American financial community in the United States. In 1983, fourteen financial institutions and 40 banking professionals became the organization’s inaugural members.
ABANA quickly became recognized as an essential bridge between the financial sectors in North America and the MENA region, and it developed a reputation as a unique forum for policy discussions that enhance understanding of the business culture and capital flows between North American and the MENA region.
Over the years, ABANA members’ professional and geographic composition diversified along with the changing global financial sector. To better reflect its membership and their shared interests in the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab Bankers Association of North America changed its name to “ABANA” in 2016.
To connect, support and inform finance professionals and institutions with interest in the Middle East and North Africa.
ABANA is governed by a 21-person board of directors who are elected by its membership, the majority of whom are of Arab descent. One-third of the board rotates annually and directors are limited to two three-year term limits, after which they must step down for a minimum of one year before running for reelection. Officers are elected annually by the board. The board of directors is a committed, active and diverse group of senior professionals; and its body of past board chairpersons and over 100 former board members continue to be ambassadors and an important resource for the organization.