Bank Leumi

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Bank Leumi
Public company (TASELUMI)
Industry Banking
Founded February 27, 1902; 114 years ago (1902-02-27)
Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
Area served
Israel and 21 other countries
Key people
Rakefet Russak-Aminoach
(President and CEO)
David Brodet, Chairman
Products Credit cards, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, savings, Securities, asset management, wealth management
Services Financial Services
Revenue 13.21 billion (2015)
2.83 billion (2015)
28.8 billion (2015)
Total assets 416 billion (2015)
Number of employees
12,528 (2016)[1]
Subsidiaries Arab Israel Bank

Bank Leumi (Hebrew: בנק לאומי‎‎, lit. National Bank) is an Israeli bank. It was founded in London as the Anglo Palestine Company on February 27, 1902, by members of the Zionist movement to promote the industry, construction, agriculture, and infrastructure of the land hoped to ultimately become Israel. Today, Bank Leumi is Israel's largest bank (by total assets as of 2015), with overseas offices in Luxembourg,[2] USA, Switzerland, the UK, Mexico, Uruguay, Romania, Jersey, and China.[3]

Though nationalized in 1981, now Bank Leumi is mainly in private hands, with the government as the largest single shareholder, with 14.8% of the stock (as of June 2006). The other major shareholders are Shlomo Eliyahu and Branea Invest, which each hold 10% of the stock, constituting the control core of the bank. Sixty percent of the bank's stocks are held by the public and traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.


Historic Bank Leumi branch on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem
Branch of Bank Leumi in Rehavia, Jerusalem
Branch of Bank Leumi in Zichron Yaacov

The Jewish Colonial Trust, predecessor to the present Bank Leumi was founded at the Second Zionist Congress and incorporated in London in 1899 as the financial instrument of the Zionist Organization. The initial capital raised—a total of £395,000—fell far short of the £8 million target; Nahum Sokolow in 1919 wrote: "The British East Africa Company, which administered 200,000 square miles, began with the same amount £250,000."[4] At the time, Zionists did not feel that there was any taint to being identified with colonialism.

The bank's activities in Palestine were carried out by the Anglo-Palestine Bank, a subsidiary formed in 1902. The bank opened its first branch in Jaffa in 1903 under the management of Zalman David Levontin. Early transactions included land purchase, imports and obtaining concessions. Branches were opened in Jerusalem, Beirut, Hebron, Safed, Haifa, Tiberias and Gaza.[5]

The Anglo-Palestine Bank offered farmers long-term loans and provided loans to the Ahuzat Bayit association which built the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv.[6] During World War I, the Ottoman government declared the bank, because it was registered in England, to be an enemy institution and moved to shut it down and confiscate its cash.[7]

After World War I, its operations expanded. In 1932, the main branch moved from Jaffa to Jerusalem.[7]

During World War II, the Anglo-Palestine Bank helped to finance the establishment of industries that manufactured supplies for the British army. After the founding of the state of Israel, the bank won the concession to issue new banknotes. In 1950, the bank was renamed Bank Leumi Le-Israel (National Bank of Israel). When the Bank of Israel was established in 1954, Bank Leumi became a commercial bank.[7]

In 1971, Bank Leumi acquired Arab Israel Bank (Ai Bank; est. 1960), which serves mainly the Arab Citizens of Israel in the north of the country. Ai Bank has 35 branches located in Israel's northern and Triangle regions.

The Government of Israel nationalized Bank Leumi in 1983, as a result of the Bank Stock Crisis.

In 2011, Bank Leumi acquired Geneva-based Banque Safdie SA for CHF 143m. Bank Leumi merged Banque Safdie with Bank Leumi Switzerland Ltd to form Leumi Private Bank in early 2012.[8]

Leumi closed its representative office in Melbourne, Australia in October 2013

In July 2014, Bank Julius Baer announced that it had purchased the private banking assets of Bank Leumi. Baer bought Bank Leumi (Luxembourg) S.A., Leumi's private bank in Luxembourg and Leumi will also transfer the clients of Leumi Private Bank to Baer.[9]

Landmark buildings[edit]

The main branch of Bank Leumi on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, built during the British Mandate by the German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn, has been declared a landmark building. Another branch of Bank Leumi on the corner of Ramban Street in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood, an example of Bauhaus architecture, was designed by the German Jewish architect Leopold Krakauer.[10] It was built in 1935 as a private home, and was renovated in 2007 to restore the original facade.

Global presence[edit]

  • Luxembourg – Due to the activities of Bank Leumi, David Almog; the branch manager of Bank Leumi's New York office, David Kalai, and Nadav Kalai, Bank Leumi entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, in December 2014, with the US Department of Justice admitting that it conspired to hide assets and income in offshore accounts. The bank paid a fine of $270 million and turned over more than 1,500 names of its U.S. account holders.[2]
  • Canada – Leumi has representative offices in Toronto and Montreal
  • Romania – Bank Leumi Romania S.A.
  • Switzerland – Leumi Private Bank
  • UK – Bank Leumi (UK) plc
  • Uruguay – Leumi (Latin America) SA
  • USA – Bank Leumi USA

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Hoke, William (August 2015). "COURT SENTENCES PAIR FOR UNDISCLOSED OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS". Tax Notes Today. AUGUST 11, 2015 (2015 TNT 155-4). 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Nahum Sokolow (1919) History of Zionism, 1600–1918. Published by Longmans, Green and co., p xlvii.
  5. ^ "Jewish Colonial Trust - Jewish Virtual Library". Archived from the original on 2012-05-07. 
  6. ^,2777,2849,00.html
  7. ^ a b c "Anglo-Palestine Bank". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Financial Times, 22 July 2014, p. 16.
  10. ^

External links[edit]