(Adds CEO quote,)
JERUSALEM, April 25 (Reuters) - Israel's Bank Hapoalim said on Tuesday it would raise the amount of dividend it pays out to up to 40 percent of net profit from 30 percent after the country's banking regulator gave a green light to make the change.
Hapoalim, Israel's largest lender, said in a statement that the change would take effect in the first quarter of 2017, and that it hopes to be allowed to raise its dividend payout even further.
"As we stated in the past, we will act to increase the dividend rate to 50 percent of net profit, while constantly ensuring financial strength," said Chief Executive Arik Pinto.
The bank's fourth-quarter profit suffered a one-off hit from a U.S. tax probe, dropping to 138 million shekels ($38 million) from 586 million shekels a year earlier. Excluding one-time items net profit was 937 million shekels. ($1 = 3.6497 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, editing by Louise Heavens)