(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
* "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)