By Amit Sharvit

Citibank has suspended plans to open commercial branches in Israel.

The bank said it will shortly inaugurate a branch in Herzliya, but will not open branches in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ra'anana as originally planned. Additional expansions will depend on developments at the Herzliya branch, Citibank said in a statement.

For now Citibank operates out of offices in Ha'Araba'a Street, Tel Aviv, and also runs a loans office in Tel Aviv's Azrieli Center.

It would seem to have changed its strategy of conquering 15% to 20% of the retail banking scene in Israel, first announced in October 2000, but its new plans are not known.

In the past Citibank officials talked about penetrating the market through acquiring one of Israel's middle-sized banks, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for now either.