June 6, 2016 / 8:36 AM / 4 years ago

Psagot brokerage to buy 20 pct of BLender's Israel activity

JERUSALEM, June 6 (Reuters) - The Psagot Investment House, Israel’s largest brokerage, will buy 20 percent of peer-to-peer lending platform BLender’s Israeli activity, the companies said on Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed and the agreement is subject to regulatory and other approvals.

As part of the deal, Psagot - owned by private equity firm Apax Partners - will add a member to the BLender Israel board.

The investment in BLender enables Psagot to enter the consumer credit market quickly. Psagot had long sought to enter this market, which is 95 percent dominated by Israeli banks and the credit card companies they own.

Hagai Badash, Psagot’s chief executive, said that in the past few years since financial institutions entered the business credit market interest rates have declined due to increased competition. But consumer credit rates remain high, he said.

“The investment houses are the competition generators in the financial industry and can bring a major change to this market too,” he said. “The combination between Psagot ... and the disruptive technology of BLender, is another strategic step towards improving the consumers’ financial position.” (Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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