The Leumi Story

Who We Are

Bank Leumi le-Israel was founded in London in 1902 as the Anglo-Palestine Company, the banking subsidiary of the Jewish Colonial Trust. Theodor Herzl, founder of the Jewish nationalist movement Zionism, defined the purpose and structure of the Trust; in 1898, the Second Zionist Congress approved its creation to fund the eventual establishment of the State of Israel.

Where We Began

Leumi in Israel

The Anglo-Palestine Company became the Anglo-Palestine Bank in 1930 and Bank Leumi le-Israel in 1951.The Anglo-Palestine Bank issued the first series of Israeli currency in 1948, and served as the central bank of the State of Israel until 1954, when the Bank of Israel was founded.

“Leumi” means national in Hebrew. Bank Leumi’s history has been intertwined with that of the state of Israel from the beginning. Today, we’re proud to serve markets in Israel, the US, and around the world.

Bank Leumi in the US

The history of Bank Leumi USA began in New York in 1954, with the opening of a representative office at 60 Wall Street. In 1959 the office became an agency, and in 1962 the bank’s first official branch in the United States—the first step toward establishing Leumi as a retail brand in the US.

Bank Leumi History

1900s and 1910s

In 1902, the Anglo-Palestine Company (APC) is registered in London.

A year later, in 1903, APC opens its first branch in Jaffa.

From 1904-07, more branches open in Jerusalem, Beirut, and Hebron.

In 1909, APC grants guarantees to the Ahuzat Bayit Association, which is established in Tel Aviv.

World War I begins in 1914. APC assists the Jewish Yishuv, or settlement movement, in Israel. APC officially closes in 1915 but continues to operate clandestinely throughout the war with an unofficial branch in Alexandria, Egypt.

1920s

APC opens its first branch in Tel Aviv in 1923. In 1924, it purchases land for the building of the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa.

In 1925, APC helps establish the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

1930s and 1940s

In 1930, APC becomes Anglo-Palestine Bank (APB).

In 1936, the bank extends loans for the building of the port of Tel Aviv. Initial trading begins on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

World War II: 1939–1945.

In 1939, APB extends credit to the citrus industry. Leumi Pia is established in 1940, making it the first Israeli company for managing mutual funds. In 1944, APB establishes Otzrot, specialized banks for agriculture and industry.

In 1947, the UN adopts the partition of Palestine.

In 1948, the Declaration of the State of Israel is enacted. The bank issues the first series of Israeli banknotes.

1950s and 1960s

1950

Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM is registered in Tel Aviv and takes on all obligations and assets of APB. The Law of Return leads to mass immigration of Jews to Israel.

1954

Leumi begins its journey in the US. Bank Leumi establishes its first US presence, opening a representative office of Bank Leumi le-Israel at 60 Wall Street.

1959

The bank opens a branch in London.

1964

The bank introduces its first computers.

1968

The bank is authorized to transact business as First Israel Bank and Trust Company of New York, with $75 million in assets and $67 million in deposits. It will ultimately become Bank Leumi USA.

1969

First Israel opens its second branch, at 1412 Broadway.

1970s

1971

First Israel opens its third location, at 579 Fifth Avenue—today Bank Leumi USA headquarters.

Bank Leumi in Israel introduces Israel’s first ATM and acquires Arab Israeli Bank.

1972

Bank Leumi in Israel acquires Aguidat Israel Bank and Loan & Savings Bank. It opens branches in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.

1973

First Israel Bank and Trust Company of New York changes its name to Bank Leumi Trust Company of New York.

1974

The bank opens a branch in Forest Hills, NY and a foreign exchange facility at the El Al terminal at JFK Airport.

1975

Bank Leumi le-Israel opens branches in Chicago, IL and Beverly Hills, CA.

1977

Bank Leumi Trust Company opens its first Long Island branch, in Hewlett, NY, giving it 10 locations in the state.

1978

Bank Leumi le-Israel continues its US expansion, opening offices in Philadelphia and Miami.

Israel and Egypt sign a peace agreement, a major political development in the Middle East.

1979

The bank establishes a corporate banking department and greatly expands its commercial finance department.

1980s

1981

After acquiring 13 branches from the Bankers Trust Company, the US bank has 25 locations in metropolitan New York, a representative office in Toronto, and offshore branches in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. A new subsidiary, BLT Leasing Corporation, launches and an international banking business is established.

The bank’s first television campaign, promoting foreign currency, airs.

1983–84

The Trust Company opens a representative office in Montreal, Canada. By 1984, the bank has dramatically increased its services beyond the fur, printing, and jewelry industries to include manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, importers, and service organizations.

1990s

Early 1990s

Bank Leumi USA goes through a major reorganization, selling nearly all retail locations and focusing its business on international banking, commercial midmarket banking, and private banking.

In Israel, the bank sets up Peagot Mutual Fund Management Company in 1990. The company is reorganized in 1995 to include First Direct Bank as a subsidiary, which offers phone-based banking.

1997

The bank has two branches remaining in New York, at 579 Fifth Avenue 1400 Broadway.

Throughout the 1990s, the Trust Company introduces a stream of new products, including Premier Banking and Premier Investments, targeted to upscale domestic and international retail customers. The bank forms alliances with other leading Wall Street organizations to serve domestic and international private banking clients.

In 1997, the Chicago, Beverly Hills, and Encino, CA branches of Bank Leumi le-Israel merge with Bank Leumi Trust Company of New York to create Bank Leumi USA.

2000s

2000

The LeumiCard subsidiary begins issuing Visa and Mastercard in Israel.

2001

Bank Leumi USA establishes Leumi Investment Services Inc., a brokerage subsidiary. Additionally, the Bank opens a branch in San Jose, CA, to serve hi-tech customers in Silicon Valley.

In Israel, Leumi changes its image and adopts a new logo.

2002

The bank purchases the insured deposits of the former Net 1st National Bank in Boca Raton, FL. Bank Leumi le-Israel’s Miami agency merges with Bank Leumi USA.

The bank celebrates its 100th anniversary and opens a “branch of tomorrow” in Kfar Saba.

2003

The bank opens branches in Aventura, FL and downtown Los Angeles. Its San Jose, CA office moves to Palo Alto.

2004

The bank announces the retirement of longtime CEO Zalman Segal after his 45 years with the Leumi Group, the last 15 at Bank Leumi USA. Uzi Rosen becomes CEO.

2005–07

The bank focuses on growth. Commercial loans increase by more than $1.1 billion and assets under management by $1 billion.

A state-of-the-art facility is built in Aventura, FL to house the bank’s International private banking practice.

2008–09

The bank remains profitable during the Great Recession, seeking no assistance from any government-sponsored program.

2010 to Present

2010

CEO Uzi Rosen, who was with the Leumi Group for 28 years, retires. Itzhak Eyal becomes CEO.

2010–13

The bank continues measured growth in commercial lending. In its private banking operation, assets under management grow by $1.3 billion.

2013

CEO Itzhak Eyal retires after 38 years with the Leumi Group. As part of a major strategic transformation, Avner Mendelson becomes president and CEO.

The bank makes a $40 million investment in technology and focuses on improving its client experience, with new strategies for commercial banking and US private banking. A significant investment in human capital attracts industry leaders to the bank’s executive ranks.

2014

In Israel, the bank launches LeumiTech—an innovative subsidiary that offers customized services for tech companies at all stages of growth, functioning as an integral part of the tech ecosystem.

2015

LeumiTech launches as part of Bank Leumi USA, providing products and services to Israeli tech companies operating in the US.
Bank Leumi USA receives its first S&P rating, BBB+ Stable.
The bank sells its remaining US real estate and consolidates its technology and support staff at 350 Madison Avenue.

2017

In Israel, the bank launches Pepper, a digital banking platform that allows customers to manage all banking activities via mobile. A mobile app, Pepper Pay, lets domestic customers of Israeli banks send and request payments.

Bank Leumi le- Israel and Bank of China sign a deal to make it easier for Israeli companies to finance operations in China.

Bank Leumi le-Israel and Nasdaq launch a joint program to support Israeli growth companies seeking to leverage the stock exchange’s global assets and insights, and to support expansion with the LeumiTech platform.

Bank Leumi announces expansion of its US commercial banking business into the water sector, a $500 billion market.

The international private banking group launches a new effort aimed at the growing Latino Jewish community in the US.

Bank Leumi’s S&P rating is upgraded to BBB+ Positive.

The bank’s net income before taxes reaches a record $77.6 million.

Today

With offices in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Aventura, Bank Leumi continues to build on 64 successful years of banking in the US.

A strategic investment by Endicott & MSD Capital, designed to help the bank continue its US growth, will allow the Bank to implement new capital market transactions and strategic opportunities.