Branch and ATM availability rises

Panel concludes banking system suffers from high level of concentration.

July 31, 2012 22:48
1 minute read.
Bank Hapoalim

Bank Hapoalim 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

The number of banking corporations in Israel decreased between 2007 and 2011, although the availability of branches and automated machines rose considerably in the same period, according to annual data released this week by the Bank of Israel.

There were 25 banks operating in Israel in 2011, as opposed to 26 four years earlier. The number of foreign banks increased from three to four, although this will increase to five next year when Barclays – which was issued a license last August – appears in the data. The number of ordinary banking corporations dropped from 16 to 15, and the number of mortgage banks dropped from three to two.

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Israel had 45 ordinary banking corporations when records were first published in 1967, but this number has gradually decreased.

Back then, the banks held a combined NIS 100,000 in demand deposits and had a total balance sheet of NIS 900,000.

Today, they hold NIS 142.4 billion in demand deposits and have a total balance sheet of NIS 1.31 trillion.

The total number of bank branches rose from 1,010 in the year 2007 to 1,179 in 2011. These include branches dealing with private, business and non-resident customers, as well as branches with limited services, special opening hours and special management arrangements.

There were 4,029 automated machines spread around Israel at the end of 2011, compared to 2,162 ATMs four years earlier. The number of machines located on bank premises rose only slightly in that period, but 1,630 new machines were placed at other locations, such as shopping malls and business districts.

The government-appointed Zaken Committee concluded two weeks ago that Israel’s banking system suffers from a high level of concentration that inhibits competitiveness.

It proposed a series of measures to increase competition in the banking sector, including encouraging the creation of an Internet bank and credit unions.

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