To Presentation (Hebrew)​

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber delivered
a speech today at the Globes Israel Business Conference.  The following are the main points of her
remarks:

 

·    The streamlining
programs formulated by the banks are significant, and will lead to a 12 percent
reduction in the banking system’s workforce.

·     The fruits of this
streamlining will reach consumers.

Streamlining
in the banking system is essential in order to lower the cost of service to the
public and in order to ensure that the banking system remains resilient in the
face of future changes and that it can adjust to a technological and
competitive world.

 

A year
ago, we instructed the banks to formulate significant streamlining programs and
to reduce the gap in the efficiency indices vis-à-vis the other OECD
countries.  We allowed the banks to
spread the cost of the streamlining programs and to implement them without
negatively affecting their ability to meet capital adequacy requirements.  The concept that led this process was that
inefficiency in the banks “rolls over” to their customers and shareholders who,
for the most part, are the broad public through the pension, provident and
advanced training funds.  The programs
served a double purpose: to lead to a situation where the public would enjoy
services at lower cost and greater convenience, as well as higher dividends;
and so that the banking system would bring itself in line with the new
competitive-technological environment taking hold.

 

The banks
set out significant streamlining programs for the years 2016–2020, which would
lead to significant savings of more than one billion shekels each year at the
end of the programs’ implementation.  The
savings would be directed toward technological improvements, from which the
banks’ customers would benefit in the form of greater convenience in their
interface with the bank; increased dividends, which would benefit the public
through its pension savings; and reduced costs. 
For instance, we instructed the banks to present a fee schedule,
starting in 2017, that includes a significant discount on all customer-executed
transactions.

 

In
response to the Banking Supervision Department directive, the banks set out
streamlining programs through which about 5,100 employees would leave the
banking system between 2016 and 2020, through voluntary retirement or natural
retirement (most of which would not be replaced by new employees).  This represents a gross reduction of 12
percent of the banking system’s workforce. 
In parallel, the programs published show that the deployment of branches
will be changed, such that by 2020, the number of bank branches in Israel will
be reduced by about 20 percent. 
Alongside this, significant changes will be made in the banks’ internal
work processes and vis-à-vis customers. 
The reduction in the number of branches being implemented by some banks
will take place as customers transition to direct banking, which is being made
available, inter alia, through Banking Supervision Department directives that
make it easier to remotely carry out transactions, and innovative digital
developments being advanced by the banks. 
For instance, a reform was recently implemented allowing the deposit of
checks through smartphones, increasing the number of ATMs where an increasing
number of banking activities can be carried out, and more.