|Mr. Edmond J. Safra was born in Beirut, into a
family whose banking business began during the Ottoman Empire a century earlier. The Safra
family was engaged in the financing of trade between Aleppo, Constantinople and
Alexandria. In 1920, Jacob Safra opened the Jacob E. Safra Bank in Beirut. That bank, now
Banque de Credit National, is privately owned by Mr.Edmond Safra. By the time he was 16,
Edmond Safra was working in his father's bank and was engaged in the precious metals and
foreign exchange aspects of the business. In 1952, Jacob Safra and his family moved to
Brazil, and in 1955, the 23-year-old Edmond and his father founded the predecessor to
Banco Safra, S.A.
With more than 50 branches in Brazil, his brothers Joseph and Moise Safra also own Safra Bank of New York, Banque Safra Luxembourg and control First International Bank of Israel. Edmond Safra moved to Geneva in 1956 where he formed the predecessor to the Trade Development Bank. In January 1966, Edmond Safra founded Republic National Bank of New York. In 1988, he opened Republic National Bank of New York (Suisse) in Geneva, and the same year formed Safra Republic Holdings S.A. Mr Edmond Safra lives in Geneva, with his wife Lily, an active supporter of the arts, humanitarian endeavors and environmental causes. The Safras are dedicated philanthropists.
All over the world, in various fields-universities, schools, Jewish centers, yeshivot, hospitals and even the City Hall in Jerusalem-institutions have been built, and named after Edmond's ther Jacob Safra, z'T in France, schools in Sarcelles, Marseille, Cannes, Nice and lately a high school in Paris are named after Jacob Safra. Edmond Safra has established the Jacob E. Safra institute of Sephardic Studies at Yeshiva University, New York City, and the Chair of Sephardic studies at Harvard University.