Barclays Reestablishes Commercial Operations in Israel

Barclays to become fifth foreign bank to open its doors in Israel.

British banking group Barclays has received a license for commercial operations in Israel, TheMarker has learned. Among the world's largest banking institutions, Barclays is already engaged in investment banking in Israel.

Barclays, which will become the fifth foreign bank to open its doors here in Israel, will provide services to business customers and target large and mid-sized export-oriented companies. The bank doesn't intend to offer retail banking to the public at large.

Leonard Rosen, CEO of the Israeli representative office, will manage the bank's local operations. On receiving its banking permit from the Bank of Israel last week, Barclays also filed a formal request for membership on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange - reflecting a desire to also operate in the field of securities and brokerage.

Barclays Bank maintained branches in pre-state mandatory Palestine beginning in 1925. In 1971, the bank in Israel was renamed Barclays Discount Bank, which was subsequently bought out in February 1993 by Israel Discount Bank. IDB has retained full ownership ever since. On April 28, 1993, the bank adopted its present name - Mercantile Discount Bank.

With the collapse of global financial services firm Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, Barclays bought its investment banking operations, thereby reestablishing itself in Israel by taking over the local Lehman Brothers office.