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Mizrahi Tefahot Raises Lending to Israel's Diamantaires by 25%

Jun 16, 2015 4:45 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Mizrahi Tefahot, a Tel Aviv-based bank, raised its lending to the Israel diamond industry by approximately 25 percent in the past year, CEO Eldad Fresher told Rapaport News

“About a year ago, we decided to grow our presence in the diamond industry in Israel,” Fresher (pictured) said in a speech to members of the trade. “We expanded our credit lines and took on new clients because we believe in this sector.” 

Fresher spoke at the presidents meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), where the lack of available bank credit was addressed  as being among the main challenges facing diamond manufacturers and dealers. Bank credit to Israel's diamond industry has declined significantly in the past few years, particularly after the largest lender, Bank Leumi, closed its diamond unit in 2014.

His comments also come at a time when European banks are reducing their  available credit for rough diamond purchases.

Fresher urged the industry to be more transparent in order to strengthen the trust between the diamond and banking sectors. 

Following his address to the trade, he told Rapaport News that Mizrahi Tefahot’s decision to increase its diamond industry lending was independent of the decision by Bank Leumi to close. He added that while the bank plans to continue to increase its lending, growth is not expected at the same aggressive rate as the past year. “We very much consider clients on a case-by-case basis,” he stressed.

Fresher declined to disclose the extent of Mizrahi Tefahot’s current lending to the industry.  
Tags: Avi Krawitz, diamonds, Eldad Fresher, IDMA, Mizrahi Tefahot, Rapaport, WFDB
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