Bank Leumi Announces Quarterly Losses of at Least NIS 700 Million

Global financial crisis blamed for losses; Bank Hapoalim announces NIS 250 million for final quarter of 2008.

Bank Leumi announced Wednesday losses of NIS 700-800 million for the final quarter of 2008. The national bank chain is still expected to post a net gain of NIS 475-575 million for 2008.

The bank has mentioned the global financial crisis, the ongoing drop in currency rates, and the decline of the Israeli economy as reasons for the loss.

Assessments have found that most of the losses can be traced to a campaign of "cleaning the stables" in regard to the bank's assets, a process that has included wide-spread sales of assets for loss.

At the beginning of February, Bank Hapoalim announced losses of NIS 250 million for the final quarter of 2008, and NIS 780 million for the year as a whole.