Tags: israel discount bank | history

Israel Discount Bank: History of the Tel Aviv Institution

By Morgan Chilson   |   Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 08:04 PM

The Israel Discount Bank Ltd. is one of the country’s three largest private banks and makes the list of 300 of the world’s largest banks.

Founded in 1935 by the late Leon Racanati, a Greek immigrant, Israel Discount Bank is a significant player in Israel’s banking system, but also has branches throughout the world. The company established its first New York branch in 1962 and has continued to expand its North American business.

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The Israeli banking system has been stable, despite worldwide economic woes, according to Reuters. The Bank of Israel, the country’s central bank, told Reuters in June that Israel’s financial system has “impressive resilience both during the global financial crisis of 2008 and following it.”

That’s good news for Israel Discount Bank, which is the holding company for IDB Bank and Israel Discount Bank (Switzerland), as well as its wholly-owned subsidiary Israel Discount Bank of New York, for which it reported a $13.2 million profit in the first quarter of this year.

Israel Discount Bank is also active in the credit card business, financial services, investment banking, portfolio management, and trustee services. With Mercantile Discount Bank, the group operates more than 200 branches in Israel.

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The investment side of the family business was IDB Holdings, which the last Recanati family member involved in any aspect of the business, Leon Recanati, a grandson of the founder, sold in May 2003.

Before that, some Recanati family members were tossed from the bank in disgrace, according to Haaretz, accused of manipulating bank shares, and the bank was nationalized. Raphael Recanati, the son of the bank’s founder, and his son, Oudi Recanati, were convicted in the 1980s.

Today, the Jewish Virtual Library described Leon Recanati as one of Israel’s foremost philanthropists and businessmen.

The Israel Discount Bank is traded on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange as DSCT, with 75 percent of the shares held by the public. The stock was trading in August for about 600 ILS (Israeli shekels), or about $168 per share.

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