December 4, 2016 / 3:42 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Israel's Hapoalim sells Miami private banking portfolio to Safra

(Adds Safra statement)

JERUSALEM, Dec 4 (Reuters) -

* Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, said on Sunday it agreed to sell its Miami branch’s international private banking portfolio to Safra National Bank of New York for $16.5 million.

* The transfer of the $2 billion portfolio is expected to be completed by March 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.

* Hapoalim’s Miami branch will no longer engage in international private banking and the future activities of the bank will be reviewed, Hapoalim said.

* The deal stems from increased operational costs of Hapoalim’s participation in international private banking.

* Hapoalim said its subsidiary in Uruguay and its representative offices in Latin America will be closed.

* The bank said Bank Hapoalim Switzerland is considered a strategic asset and will continue its international private banking activities, mainly focusing on target markets of Israel and the EU.

* Its Swiss unit will significantly narrow its activities with Latin America and Russia and a material decline in client assets held with the subsidiary is expected. Bank Hapoalim Switzerland is also reducing its presence and infrastructure.

* Hapoalim will continue to develop and expand its commercial banking activities in the United States through its New York branch.

* Safra said the agreement with Hapoalim will focus on high net worth clients in Latin America, where it has operated for more than 30 years.

* Safra has more than $194 billion of total assets under management.

* “We are determined to play a leading role in the consolidation of the private banking market,” said Jacob Safra, vice chairman of Safra National Bank. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)

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