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Bank Leumi
Type Private
Founded 27 February 1902
Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
Area served Israel and 21 other countries
Key people Galia Maor
(President and CEO)
Eitan Raff, Chairman
Industry Banking
Services Financial Services
Net income $372,7 million (after 9 month of 2008)
Employees 12,500
Website www.leumi.co.il

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 Palestine.

Contents

History

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."[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[2]

After World War I, its operations expanded. In 1932, the main branch moved from Jaffa to Jerusalem.[2]

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. [2]

The bank was nationalized in 1983, as a result of the Bank Stock Crisis.

Today, Bank Leumi is Israel's leading commercial bank, with $85 billion in assets and a presence in USA, Switzerland, UK and 18 other countries (as of 2008). 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. 60% of the bank's stocks are held by the public and traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Landmark buildings

Historic Bank Leumi branch on Jaffa Road

The main branch of Bank Leumi on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, built during the British Mandate, has been declared a landmark building.[4] 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.[5] It was built in 1935 as a private home, and was renovated in 2007 to restore the original facade.

References

  1. ^ Nahum Sokolow (1919) History of Zionism, 1600-1918 Published by Longmans, Green and co., p xlvii.
  2. ^ a b c d Anglo-Palestine Bank
  3. ^ Bank Leumi - Leumi’s Heritage
  4. ^ Jerusalem Master Plan [1]
  5. ^ http://www.biu.ac.il/js/rennert/history_12.html

External links

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