Major Israeli banks to pay millions in fines due to poor service

Bnak Leumi and Bank Hapoalim each have to pay NIS 1 million, Isracard must pay out NIS 250,000.

 Bank Leumi. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bank Leumi.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi will each pay a fine of NIS 1 million, and Isracard will pay a fine of NIS 250,000, the Bank of Israel announced. This comes as part of financial sanctions against banks due to service disruptions and consumer issues, which were investigated by undercover Bank of Israel officials. 

Bank Hapoalim was fined after refusing to allow certain customers into the branch and not providing service to those who did not schedule an appointment in advance, in violation of banking supervision regulations. The fine was given following complaints from bank customers who were left outside, and after various undercover inspections in which supervisory authorities attempted to enter branches and receive service without scheduling an appointment. Banking supervision rules state that a bank is obligated to allow a customer into the branch and provide service even if no appointment is scheduled, and Bank Hapoalim acted unlawfully by leaving customers outside.

Bank Leumi was also fined due to violations related to debt collection. Within a sample examination, defects were found in reports filed for debt enforcement, including cases where no reports were filed for enforcement of received judgments. Cases were also found where reports were filed to the enforcement office after a seven-day delay. Additionally, cases were discovered where debt arrangements were not reported to the enforcement office within a reasonable time.

Isracard was fined NIS 250,000 due to long waiting times at the call center. The company did not comply with the law's requirement to provide a human response within six minutes at the call center.

Advocating for fairness in Israeli banking

The supervisor of the banks, Daniel Hahiashvili, said that he "sees the fairness of the banking system in its conduct with its customers as a central value. We see the utmost importance in compliance with consumer protection laws with an emphasis on professional, accessible, and quality service to customers in all banking service channels. We will continue to work with the range of tools at our disposal to enforce regulations on various consumer issues, as part of our efforts to ensure a fair organizational culture within the banking system."