Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

IDB Bankholding Corporation Limited - Lehman Brothers Collection

IDB Bankholding Corporation Limited

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The IDB Bankholding Corporation was one of the largest financial enterprises in Israel. The principal subsidiary of IDB was the Israel Discount Bank Limited, which was founded by Leon Recanati in 1935.

The bank was based in Tel Aviv, and over the course of many years it grew to become the largest private bank in Israel. Total assets for the bank amounted to $145 million in 1959. Two years later, they were $236 million.

In 1962, to much press coverage, including a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Eleanor Roosevelt and New York Mayor Wagner, the bank opened a branch in New York City. The reason given by the bank for opening the branch was that there had been a substantial increase in business relations between Israel and the United States.

The following year, in 1963, the bank was operating ninety-six branches in Israel and one in New York. Assets had now grown to $331 million.

The bank made its first public offering of common stock outside of Israel to U.S. investors in 1964, with a sale of 300,000 class A shares at $12.25 per share.

The bank opened its second branch in New York City in 1968. At the time, the bank had grown to 112 branches in Israel. The following year, in June 1969, several directors of the bank and the PEC Israel Economic Corporation, an operating finance company, formed the IDB Bankholding Corporation, and within months this new holding corporation acquired ownership of the bank as well as PEC.

The bank had grown to 131 branches in Israel by the end of 1971, with two in New York and one in the Bahamas. The holding company, IDB Bankholding, also grew that year by joining with Barclays Bank International to form the Barclays Discount Bank Limited in Israel, with both companies holding a 50 percent interest in the subsidiary.

Total assets for IDB totaled approximately $2 billion in 1972, up from $1.5 billion the previous year. The reason given for this rise was a sharp increase in total capital funds, including capital notes.

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