Representatives of Israeli banks participated in an annual conference held by
the International Monetary Fund over the weekend in Tokyo. The three-day
conference focused on the global financial system and the banking
“As a backdrop to our discussions is the question of the
complex dynamics between stability and growth, which is also present in the
Israeli economy,” Bank Hapoalim chairman Yair Saroussi and CEO Zion Keinan were
quoted as saying in a press release, without specifying who said what.
“Nevertheless, most of the attention is focused on trying to stabilize European
“Finding balance between stability and growth is the
No.1 question on the agendas of leading bankers today,” Saroussi and
Keinan said. “The need for stability is clearly the main lesson of the crisis.
But stability does not mean refusing to budge. The challenge facing bank
managers today, especially in developed countries, is to become a growthinducing
factor and then to leverage that growth as a means to fortify the institutions
Saroussi and Keinan took part in a G-30 seminar at the
conference, which was also attended by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke,
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
A central theme of the seminar
was the issue of regulation. A policy paper presented to the participants
said it was incorrect to “impose uniform operating instructions” on markets with
different structural problems, and it is better to let every system attain its
“The practical conclusion of this,” Saroussi and Keinan
said, is “that regulators everywhere need to consider local circumstances and
local abilities, as they are expressed in a regulated banking
“Regarding regulation of the banks,” they said, “we identify a
trend preferring flexibility in different countries, within the framework of the
Basel Committee guidelines, from an understanding that different markets have
different needs. It is necessary to differentiate between markets where the
government needed to bail out banks and markets, like Israel, where this wasn’t
At the conference, Global Finance
magazine chose Bank
Hapoalim as the best Israeli bank in the developed-markets category.