Banco Espírito agrees to sell its U.S. bank — again

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Banco Espírito Santo in Madrid has agreed to sell its U.S. bank to a Swiss financier.

Joseph Benhamou, along with certain family members, has agreed to buy the $504 million-asset Brickell Bank in Miami, according to a Monday press release. The price was not disclosed.

“The Benhamou family has a longstanding history in international banking with particularly strong expertise in private banking and wealth management,” G. Frederick Reinhardt, Brickell’s chairman and CEO, said in the release.

“We look forward to working hand in hand with Mr. Benhamou, whom we have come to know and respect throughout this process,” Reinhardt added. “Our shared dedication to the tradition of private banking and wealth management and a mutual commitment to growing assets under management and strengthening the overall equity base makes this a natural fit.”

Benhamou and his family own a majority stake in CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique, a family owned bank in Switzerland. The bank, formed in 1975, has $8.5 billion in assets.

Benhamou “brings to the partnership his vast experience and know-how as a controlling shareholder of CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique, and he is a superb catalyst for our growth and rededication to serving our customers,” Reinhardt said.

This is the second time Banco Espírito has agreed to sell Brickell in the last two years.

Venezuela’s Benacerraf family had agreed in June 2015 to buy the bank for $10 million. The family withdrew an application in February 2017 after regulators were slow to sign off.

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