A global bank with a national commitment

From modest beginnings over 110 years ago to its current position as a leading Israeli bank, Bank Leumi continues to strive for excellence

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
November 11, 2013 12:32

 
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Established in 1902, Bank Leumi is Israel’s oldest banking corporation and a major international institution. More than a century after its founding, it continues to stand at the forefront of Israel’s core economic activity.


Leumi has always excelled and exhibited an innovative approach, standing out as a leader in many professional areas in the local and global financial field.


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The Leumi Group is one of the largest corporations in the Middle East.


With a local market share of 30 percent, Leumi is recognized as one of the largest financial institutions in Israel. It has the most extensive international banking operations of all Israeli banks, with over 13,000 employees throughout the world, and 340 branches and offices located in Israel and in 17 financial centers across the globe, including the US, UK, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The Leumi Group is involved in a variety of banking, financial and non-banking activities, offering an entire spectrum of products and services in corporate, commercial, retail, institutional and private banking.


As of the first half of 2013, the group’s total assets amounted to NIS 364 billion, assets under management reached NIS 1,010b., and shareholder’s equity amounted to NIS 26b. Net return on equity was 8.4% (on an annual basis), and the capital adequacy ratio reached 15.02%, of which the core capital ratio (Tier 1) was 9.03%.


The Leumi Group provides high-quality banking services to all types of customers, from households to large corporations. These services are provided through five dedicated business lines, suited to all customer segments, and backed up by the highest standards and uncompromised professionalism. The bank provides additional services through its subsidiaries: Leumi Card (the bank’s credit card company), the Arab-Israel Bank and Leumi Partners (the group’s investment banking arm).


Over the past decade, Leumi has invested extensive resources in developing and enhancing its technological capabilities, in order to provide customers with the most advanced banking services in the market. Today, Leumi Digital leads the way with a wide variety of innovative online digital banking services, which are carried out through various new media channels, including tablets and smartphones. Leumi Digital products have won a variety of prestigious international awards in recent years.




Origins Leumi is closely interwoven with the history of Israel. In an article published by the visionary of the Jewish state, Theodor Herzl, on November 19, 1897, he stated that the Zionist movement was in need of a financial institution to help it realize its goals.


In light of his vision, the Second Zionist Congress decided to establish a company called Jewish Colonial Trust, which in turn established the Anglo-Palestine Company (APC).


APC, which later became Bank Leumi, was designated to operate as a bank in the Land of Israel. In 1902, APC was established in London and in August 1903 it opened its first branch in Jaffa. The Jerusalem branch was opened in 1904, followed in 1906 by the Beirut branch. By 1914, branches were open in Hebron, Haifa, Safed and Tiberias. APC’s goals were to develop and cultivate business initiatives in industry and agriculture, and to help build the emerging country. The bank has continued with these goals since its foundation – in accordance with Herzl’s vision – by supporting important Zionist efforts and contributing to the development of the country.


Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Leumi served as the central bank of the new state and issued the country’s first banknotes. In 1950, the bank’s name was changed to Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M., and it served as the central bank until the Bank of Israel was formally established in 1954. Since then, Leumi has been instrumental in the development of the Jewish state, playing a vital role in a range of sectors, from national infrastructure, agriculture, industry and real estate, to commerce, academia, hi-tech and research. The single most defining aspect of Bank Leumi is that it is simultaneously international, national and local in perspective.


Business lines The Corporate Banking Division provides comprehensive financial services to Israel’s largest businesses, including multinational corporations, which are carried out through seven specialized business sectors.


The Commercial Banking Division manages the financial activities of middle-market companies through 25 commercial branches, while providing a comprehensive one-stop shop to its clients.


The Retail Banking Division manages the financial activities of private customers and small businesses through 210 branches located across the country. The division also includes Leumi Mortgage, which is responsible for the bank’s mortgage activities.


The International & Private Banking Division is responsible for the bank’s global operations, which are carried out through a network of 60 branches and offices located in 17 countries.


The division is also in charge of providing comprehensive private banking services tailored to high-net-worth clients in Israel and abroad.


The Capital Markets Division coordinates the activities of Leumi’s dealing rooms and manages Leumi’s nostro portfolio.


Leumi and the community Since its establishment in 1902, Leumi has been an active partner in the society and community in which it operates.


As part of its corporate vision, the bank contributes to various institutions and organizations in the areas of education, welfare, health, culture and the arts. Over the past decade, Leumi has placed special emphasis on empowering Israel’s younger generation, by encouraging initiative and nurturing leadership among youths, in order to help them realize their dreams and fulfill their potential. In doing so, the bank established the Leumi Tomorrow Fund, which supports numerous educational and enrichment programs for the benefit of disadvantaged youths throughout the country, with the aim of reducing gaps in Israeli society and creating equal opportunities.


Leumi is ranked in the Platinum Group of companies that are rated by the Maala Social Responsibility Index. The Maala rating examines Israel’s leading companies in terms of their compliance with corporate social responsibility. The rating is based on detailed criteria in six key areas: environmental quality, business ethics, the work environment, human rights, community involvement and corporate governance.


As part of its overall commitment to society, Leumi encourages its employees to become involved in the community and provides them with the infrastructure and the opportunity to volunteer and contribute.


Thousands of employees are involved in volunteer activities, which are carried out in the framework of various social projects initiated by the bank.

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