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Israeli banks seek foothold in Ukraine

One of Israel’s major banks is negotiating the acquisition of a Ukrainian bank with its Moscow-based parent company. According to sources, Bank Leumi is close to finalizing the purchase of Vneshtorgbank Ukraine from VTB, one of Russia’s largest banks. Along with another Israeli bank, Bank Hapoalim, Leumi has reportedly asked a European banker to screen Ukrainian mid-sized banks for the future development of retail business.According to a source at Bank Hapoalim, the bank is going to buy a Kiev-based bank with a network of 100-200 retail points.Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, has earmarked $500 million for its overseas expansion, including in Russia and other post-Soviet countries.