Israeli lender Bank Hapoalim is set to resume dividend payments indicating increasing optimism in the banking sector.

According to a Reuters report, the lender will pay ILS616.8m ($191m) as dividends later this month. Globes, a local publication, noted that the move will mark the first Bank Hapoalim dividend payment since 2018.

The move comes after Israel’s banking regulator green lighted the local lenders to resume dividend payments.

However, the directive called on the banks to restrict payments to 30% of their 2020 profits.

In 2020, the central bank ordered the local banks to suspend dividend pay outs amid the pandemic.

Earlier this year, most of the Israeli banks reported significant increases in profit in first quarter 2021.

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Founded in 1921, Bank Hapoalim is one of the largest banks in Israel. According to its website, the lender has three main units- the Corporate Banking Division, the Retail Banking Division, and the Financial Markets and International Banking Division.

The retail unit serves individuals and small and mid-sized business clients through branches, self-service stations and digital channels.

The services include current account management, credit, savings, foreign currency, capital-market activity and consultation.

In November last year, Bank Hapoalim entered into a partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), an international financial hub.

The partnership will enable both the organisations to pursue a range of opportunities in regional banking space.