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Former Fed official Fischer hopes to boost Israel's Bank Hapoalim as board member

TEL AVIV, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Stanley Fischer, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said on Friday he would use his new role on the board of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim to help it grow as it deals with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, on Thursday elected Fischer to a three-year term on its board of directors.

Fischer, who previously served as Governor of the Bank of Israel, said: “The Israeli banking system faces many challenges, not least of them resulting from the Coronavirus crisis.”

“I intend to study the bank and its activities in depth, as well as the competitive and regulatory environment, so that I can contribute from my experience to the bank and its growth,” he said in a statement.

Hapoalim’s second-quarter profit fell sharply after it set aside a 1.13 billion shekel ($335 million) credit loss provision, which included 806 million shekels as an advance to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Fischer said he was confident the bank’s management could navigate it through the crisis.

Fischer headed the Bank of Israel from 2005-2013 and is widely credited with helping the country weather the 2008 financial crisis.

He served as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors from 2014-2017.

$1 = 3.3769 shekels Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Steven Scheer; Editing by Mark Potter