Valley National strikes $1.2B acquisition to fend off fintechs

Valley National Bank agreed Thursday to acquire Bank Leumi’s U.S. division in a $1.15 billion deal that would help the New Jersey-based lender fend off financial startups pecking away at established banks.

“Fintechs compete amazingly with banks on transactions, but they aren’t strong when it comes to business based on relationships,” Valley Chief Executive Ira Robbins said. “That’s where we’re investing our dollars and human capital.”

Israel-based Bank Leumi’s U.S. division has close ties to the California and New York tech and venture-capital communities. Its private banking business has $4 billion in assets under management and it’s a player in commodities and foreign exchange.

“We’ve been trying to build

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