The planned buyout of one foreign-owned New York bank by another may be getting more complicated.
Commercial Bank of New York said last week that it was "continuing to evaluate its interest in acquiring" United Mizrahi Bank and Trust Co., a unit of Tel Aviv-based United Mizrahi Bank.
But David Minder, Commercial's general counsel, insisted the statement was "just a clarification of what the procedure is now" and should not be construed as meaning his bank had cooled to the deal.
"We continue to be interested," he said. "Definitely."
Commercial, a $1.1 billion-asset bank owned by the Safdie family of Brazil, signed a letter of intent in May to buy United Mizrahi. The letter has since been renewed, but no formal agreement has been reached, nor have details about the progress of the deal.
In its announcement last week, Commercial said that "the sale process is now in the hands of the voting trustees of United Mizrahi."
Mr. Minder said the unit's trustees, an American and an Israeli, hold its shares under a voting trust agreement with federal regulators dating from early 1995.
He declined to release the trustees' names, and United Mizrahi officials did not return phone calls.
The merged bank would have seven branches plus Commercial's loan production office in Miami and two representative offices in South America.