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Israel's Bank Hapoalim to pay dividend after regulator nod

JERUSALEM, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Israel’s Bank Hapoalim says it will pay a cash dividend of 616.8 million shekels ($191 million), or 30% of 2020 net profit, on Aug. 18. The announcement by Hapoalim, Israel’s second-largest bank, comes after Israel’s banking regulator in mid-July told lenders they could resume paying dividends, but recommended a limit of 30% of 2020 profits since a level of economic uncertainty remains.

At the start of the global pandemic last year, the central bank instructed lenders to suspend dividend distribution and share buy-backs.

More than a year later, with Israel enjoying an economic recovery after its vaccine campaign, banking supervisor Yair Avidan said in May that he would likely allow the resumption of payouts later in 2021. ($1 = 3.2248 shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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