Bank Leumi said on Tuesday it had signed memorandums of understanding with FAB and Emirates NBD, hours before Israel and the United Arab Emirates are due to sign agreements toward normalising relations, Reuters reported.
Bank Leumi said its agreements with the UAE banks would help enable both the countries to implement economic relations. In a symbolic act, it said it had transferred $180 to each bank.
Leumi, Israel’s second-biggest bank, said it had been approached in recent weeks by dozens of clients seeking to transfer funds to and from the UAE. According to the MoUs, the banks agreed to advance ties with financial institutions in both countries, providing services such as clearance, credit lines, and foreign currency trade.
ENBD’s Mou with Bank Hapoalim
The MoU between Emirates NBD and Bank Hapoalim was formalised by Emirates NBD’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim and Group CEO Shayne Nelson, and Bank Hapoalim’s CEO, Dov Kotler in the presence of other senior officials. The MoU is part of a broader engagement between the UAE and Israel to further peace, dialogue and stability and establish cooperation to promote sustainable development.
“We are pleased to sign this agreement, which will support the two countries’ shared objective of enhancing economic and commercial engagement. The MoU will open new business and trade opportunities for our clients and further enhance our leading position as a trusted banking partner to businesses across the MENAT region,” said Shayne Nelson, Group CEO, Emirates NBD.
Kotler, CEO of Bank Hapoalim said the agreement with a leading bank in the UAE is a breakthrough achievement that will allow Israeli clients to transact directly in the UAE and subsequently in other countries. “It is a great honour to be the first bank to sign such an agreement that will contribute to the establishment of the relationship between the two countries.”
Earlier this month First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank by assets said it was planning to start talks with two Israeli banks, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi for financial co-opearation, the bank said in a tweet.
Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UAE Central Bank and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) will open discussions with leading financial institutions in Israel, namely Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, FAF said in a tweet.
Growing business potential
Credit rating agency Moody’s said in a recemnt report that the normalization of ties would be mutually beneficial to both countries in terms of business and scientific cooperation.
Analysts said with the law in place making the diplomatic and business relations now official, more business negotiations and co-operation agreements are likely the days ahead.
According to Israel’s Economy Ministry, the normalisation of ties could increase exports to the UAE to $300-$500 million annually (0.3%-0.4% of Israeli exports), and UAE investments in Israel could reach $350 million a year (1.9% of inbound foreign direct investment). Israel will also benefit from access to more secure oil supplies.