Loans, not handouts
The Bank Leumi story began in 1902 as part of a Jewish
repatriation effort. The bank's founder, Dr. Theodore Herzl,
established the Anglo Palestine Company in London; as he explained
at the time, "Jewish settlers in the Land of Israel do not need
charity, but rather bank loans." Herzl believed that a Jewish state
could not survive without a robust industrial and financial
infrastructure, and, over the years, the institution that became
Bank Leumi has played a major role in Israel's development.
Today, Bank Leumi is the biggest bank in Israel by market share,
and the Leumi Group includes some 300 branches in Israel and 20
countries around the world. At the group level, services are
divided into four business lines: middle-market commercial banking,
corporate banking, private banking and retail banking.
Bank Leumi USA is one of Leumi Group's nine international
banking subsidiaries. Based in New York, it also has
operations in California, Florida and Illinois.
New York roots
Bank Leumi USA was established in New York City in 1954,
and for the first two decades of its existence, expansion was
confined to the five boroughs. After changing its name to
Bank Leumi Trust Company of New York in 1973, the subsidiary opened
additional branches in Manhattan and Queens, as well as a foreign
exchange facility at Kennedy International Airport.
In 1975, the bank made its way to Chicago and opened a branch in
Beverly Hills, Calif. A 1976 acquisition deal with American
Bank & Trust Company added five more branches, and in later
years Leumi unveiled locations in Long Island, Florida and offshore
centers in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Bank Leumi
USA's nationwide presence ballooned in the 1980s with the launch of
a dozen more branches, a leasing corporation and an international
A slimdown began in the 1990s, as Leumi sold off its retail
branches concentrate on core commercial, private and international
banking businesses. Its name went on a diet, too: the Bank
Leumi Trust Company of New York became Bank Leumi USA (occasionally
abbreviated BLUSA) in 1997.
A brokerage is born
In recent years, Bank Leumi USA has moved into the
brokerage business with the 2001 debut of Leumi Investment
Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary that provides financial
planning, insurance programs, investment plans and services,
equities, bonds, mutual funds, annuities and hedge fund
As an FDIC-insured, full-service bank, Leumi USA provides a
complete range of international, commercial and private banking
services to middle market businesses, multinationals, nonprofits
and high-net-worth individuals. One of Leumi's prime niches
in the U.S. is its ability to serve as an intermediary for American
companies and individuals with investments in Israel.