Israel's Bank Leumi CEO sees return to dividends in 2017 -report

JERUSALEM, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest bank, expects to resume paying dividends in 2017 as it is very close to clearing a key regulatory hurdle, its chief executive said.

Rakafet Russak-Aminoach told Bloomberg News that Leumi, which has not distributed dividends since 2011, expects to meet the Bank of Israel’s demand of a Tier 1 capital ratio of 10.25 percent by January 2017.

“Whenever we are there, we will be able to approach the regulator and ask for approval for a dividend,” she said.

A Leumi spokesman confirmed that the bank believes it will pay dividends during 2017.

Hedva Ber, Israel’s Supervisor of Banks, last month said that banks will be able to boost dividends next year after raising capital levels to meet regulatory demands.

Reporting by Steven Scheer, editing by David Evans