Hapoalim and Leumi top execs to visit UAE

Samer Haj Yehia / Photo: Ron Alon

A Hapoalim delegation led by CEO Dov Kotler will visit the UAE this week and a Leumi delegation led by chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yehia will travel next week.

Israel's two biggest banks are quickly taking advantage of the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Top executives from Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) will travel there on Tuesday and the heads of Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) will fly to the UAE next week, after last week a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries on banking and finance.

The MoU established a technical infrastructure for banking relations through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network - the mechanism that allows direct international payments between banks and investments. Previously Israeli companies had to open offshore accounts in Singapore and Europe in order to do covert business in the UAE.

On September 8, Hapoalim CEO will head a delegation to the UAE, which includes businesspeople and this will be the first-ever official Israeli trade delegation to the UAE. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the delegation will meet with heads of UAE's banks and the senior economic and government figures.

Kotler said, "Bank Hapoalim sees major importance in establishing close economic relations with leading banks in the UAE. The decision to travel to the UAE at the head of an Israeli delegation of businesspeople is being conducted due to the extensive economic potential and the desire of the two sides to establish immediate economic connections. Recent diplomatic developments represent a unique opportunity to establish relations and economic cooperation between the countries and between their financial systems, which will result in economic growth for both sides."

Sources inform "Globes" that Kotler will meet with the heads of several large banks in the UAE to establish direct connections and check out the possibility of joint ventures for investment in such areas as water desalination and solar energy.

Next week Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) chairman Dr. Samer Haj Yehia and CEO Hanan Friedman will also travel to UAE for a business meeting together with 20 senior executives from Israeli companies in order to encourage economic cooperation between the countries. Leumi said that it expects to sign cooperation agreements with leading banks in the UAE.

UAE's top banks tend to be looked upon with suspicion in many Western countries because of relatively relaxed regulation and te ease with which it is possible to hide information and make secret transfers of money. UAE banks also take a flexible approach to cryptocurrencies.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 6, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Samer Haj Yehia / Photo: Ron Alon
Samer Haj Yehia / Photo: Ron Alon
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