April 15, 2019 / 12:52 PM / 8 days ago

Bank Hapoalim CEO Pinto to step down at end of 2019

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bank Hapoalim, Israel's biggest bank, is seen at their main branch in Tel Aviv, Israel July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim CEO Arik Pinto will step down when his term is up at the end of the year, Israel’s largest lender said on Monday.

Moroccan-born Pinto will retire after 40 years at the bank, including the last four when he served as CEO.

“I never thought I would work at a bank for 40 straight years and I feel this is the right time for me to look back with pride and satisfaction and fulfill additional dreams and challenges in the future,” Pinto said.

In the past few years Hapoalim has been embroiled in an U.S. tax evasion investigation regarding its clients and has set aside more than $600 million to cover a potential settlement.

“I plan to do everything in my power to bring an end to this and reach a settlement before I finish my term,” said Pinto, who has been dealing with the matter from the beginning of his term as CEO.

Two other banks, Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot, have reached settlements with U.S. authorities.

Last week Hapoalim sold 65.2 percent of Isracard, the country’s largest credit card company, for 1.8 billion shekels ($506 million) in an initial public offering.

This followed the passing of a law in 2017 requiring Hapoalim and Leumi to sell their credit card units by 2020 in a bid to reduce concentration in the lending market and lower credit costs.

Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer and Louise Heavens

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