(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Bank Hapoalim, the country's second largest bank,
is embarking on a three-year plan to improve profitability, while
strengthening its retail and corporate activities in an effort to
regain its leadership position as the country's largest bank.
us, 2010 is a year in which we return to a trajectory of growing
revenues and improving profitability. I am certain that the
implementation of our strategic plan will enable the bank to solidify
its leadership in Israeli banking," said Bank Hapoalim chairman Yair
Seroussi. "This year, we will continue to strengthen our leadership in
retail and corporate banking in Israel; stand by our customers and help
them grow; focus our international operations and continue to build the
infrastructure for future growth; maintain the bank's level of capital
adequacy above the regulatory requirement; and devote special attention
to risk management."
In its 2010-2012 work plan, approved by the Board of Directors
on Sunday, the bank said that Israel was one of the countries where the
impact of the crisis was relatively minor, thanks to the government's
prudent fiscal policy, the monetary leadership of the Bank of Israel,
and a robust, conservative banking system.
"All of these factors enabled the Israeli economy to start 2010
on a positive note. Of course, we are aware of the remaining risks in
the financial systems in the United States and in most European
countries, and we recognize that full employment in the developed
countries is still a long way off," said Seroussi. "For all of these
reasons, we believe it is prudent to maintain a cautious and
conservative business policy."
In 2010, the bank also plans to focus on
international operations in an effort to build the infrastructure for
future growth, maintain a level of capital adequacy above the
regulatory requirement of 12 percent, and devote special attention to
"Bank Hapoalim has experienced two difficult years during which
the bank has lost its leadership to Bank Leumi," said Yuval Ben-Zeev,
analyst at Clal Finance Brokerage. "2010 opens for the bank as a year
with a focus on rebuilding its position and a return to the center of
the stage as the leading bank in Israel. Bank Hapoalim wants to win
renewed trust of customers, businesses and the central bank's
the retail sector the bank plans to expand its branch network in
response to customers' needs, with new branches in a variety of formats
tailored to different segments of the population, taking into account
the demographic shifts in the Israeli population.
"We will continue to improve customer service, making use of
new technologies, with special emphasis on providing advisory services,
strengthening long-term saving habits, and increasing our market share
in mortgages with a focus on customers of the bank," said the bank's
CEO Zion Keinan.
"We also plan to take our activity to the next
level in the middle market business sector, which is an important
component of the backbone of the Israeli economy. We see potential for
significant expansion of the bank's business in this area, based, among
other factors, on the new infrastructure of business branches, which we
will continue to grow over the coming years."
Ben-Zeev noted that two years ago, Bank Hapoalim took a
strategic decision to focus on the middle market business, in which it
has a market share of 25% compared with Bank Leumi's 40% share.
"We expect Bank Hapoalim's work plan to create fierce
competition in the banking sector as other banks will respond to the
aggressive steps the bank is planning to take," said Ben-Zeev.