Citigroup Inc. said Wednesday that it has obtained approval from Israel's central bank to open a full-service branch here.

Citigroup opened a representative office in Tel Aviv in 1996, becoming the first U.S. bank to open an office in Israel. The only other non-Israeli bank with offices in the country is Poland's Bank Pekao, which opened a branch in the 1930s.

Citigroup did not disclose when it plans to open the branch or what kind of business it hopes to pursue in Israel, which already has a highly developed banking market. The bank is still awaiting approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the Tel Aviv branch. -- James R. Kraus

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