Middle East: Prosperous Peddler

The wealth of the Arab world glitters in Beirut, but the citadel of Arab finance is an undistinguished grey-walled building in Amman on the edge of the Jordan desert. It is the Arab Bank, the first as well as the largest Arab-owned bank. Its bluff, barrel-chested founder and chairman is Abdul Hameed Shoman, 75, a onetime haberdashery peddler who ranged the U.S. before returning home to open a bank dedicated as much to helping Arabs as it is to making profits. Shoman excels at making helping pay. Last week, as the Arab Bank released its 1962 report, everything set...

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