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Israeli lenders Hapoalim and Leumi sign accords with National Bank of Bahrain

‘Historic’ memorandums of understanding seen as paving the way for business parties in both nations to tighten economic ties

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler, right, meets with CEO of the National Bank of Bahrain Jean-Christophe Durand in Manama, Bahrain in Nov. 2020 (Courtesy)
Bank Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler, right, meets with CEO of the National Bank of Bahrain Jean-Christophe Durand in Manama, Bahrain in Nov. 2020 (Courtesy)

Israel’s two largest banks, Bank Hapoalim Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., said on Sunday they have signed memorandum of understanding agreements with the National Bank of Bahrain for cooperation between the lenders.

Hapoalim’s accord was signed by Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler and the CEO of the Bahrain bank, Jean-Christophe Durand. “The historic accord,” said Bank Hapoalim in a statement, will enable customers of both banks to engage in deals and banking transactions between parties in Israel and Bahrain as economic ties tighten.

Leumi’s accord was signed by the CEO of Leumi, Hanan Friedman, and Durand.

Bank Leumi said in a statement that the accord will “lay the infrastructure” for economic ties between the two countries, enabling investments, trade, clearing services, and foreign exchange and securities trade.

The National Bank of Bahrain, publicly listed on the Bahrain exchange, was established in 1957 as the Kingdom’s first locally owned bank. It has 29 branches and operates in Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to its website.

The accords were made possible after Israel and the UAE and Bahrain signed landmark normalization agreements in September.

Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi have already signed collaboration accords with UAE banks, as business parties on both sides are abuzz with excitement about the economic opportunities these present.

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