Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv
Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv
Reuters
CEO of Bank Hapoalim Dov Kotler (right) during a meeting in the UAE

Israel's Hapoalim expects UAE bank ties to follow normalization

Top lender revs up cooperation efforts to facilitate banking relationship with local banks across the Gulf state before officials meet at White House for signing of peace treaty

Reuters |
Published: 09.09.20 , 22:23
Israel's largest lender Bank Hapoalim expects to start working with banks in the United Arab Emirates once the two Middle East states sign a normalization agreement, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The UAE and Israel are due to sign the agreement, brokered by the United States, on Sept. 15 at a ceremony held by U.S. President Donald Trump.
נציגי המשלחת הישראלית בראשות מנכ"ל בנק הפועלים בפגישות עם בכירי הבנקים ואנשי העסקים באמירויותנציגי המשלחת הישראלית בראשות מנכ"ל בנק הפועלים בפגישות עם בכירי הבנקים ואנשי העסקים באמירויות
CEO of Bank Hapoalim Dov Kotler (right) during a meeting in the UAE
(Photo: Bank Hapoalim)
The three sides have talked up the economic opportunities that normalization would bring and several business cooperation agreements have already been signed.
Hapoalim CEO Dov Kotler said a correspondent banking relationship facilitating direct money transfers between the countries would help develop trade and business ties.
"I believe that after the governments sign the agreement next week we will be able to work with the banking system here," he told Reuters during a visit to the UAE.
Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel AvivBank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv
Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv
(Reuters)
In correspondent banking, a bank with no branch or network in a given country will typically channel payments there through a local bank that acts on its behalf.
Kotler is leading an Israeli business delegation on a two-day visit to the UAE as the two countries develop bilateral economic relations.
"We are here to build trust before talking business. In order to build trust I believe we have to meet face to face and that is what we are doing," he said.
Israel and the UAE on Aug. 13 agreed to normalize relations, making the UAE the first Gulf country and the third Arab state to do so when a final accord is signed.
Kotler said he believed Hapoalim would establish relationships with the three largest lenders in the UAE, though declined to name the banks.
נציגי המשלחת הישראלית בראשות מנכ"ל בנק הפועלים בפגישות עם בכירי הבנקים ואנשי העסקים באמירויותנציגי המשלחת הישראלית בראשות מנכ"ל בנק הפועלים בפגישות עם בכירי הבנקים ואנשי העסקים באמירויות
Representatives of the Israeli delegation headed by the CEO of Bank Hapoalim in meetings with senior bank officials and businessmen in the Emirates
(Photo: Bank Hapoalim)
The UAE's largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank has said it would open discussions with Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, another Israeli bank.
Bank Leumi is to lead a delegation to the UAE on Sept. 14.
Emirates BND, Dubai's largest bank, declined to comment on the visit of Hapoalim this week.
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