Bank Yahav signed an agreement with the Civil Servants Union on Sunday to provide free banking services to all civil servants. "As a result of the agreement, there is no need to launch the tender process for the provision of banking services to civil servants as planned by the Accountant-General," said Ariel Yaakovi, chairman of the Civil Servants Union. Under the agreement with Bank Yahav, civil servants will be able to have an overdraft of up to NIS 7,000 without paying interest or other charges. Other banking services offered free of charge include the order of new check books, credit card services and bank transfer services. Bank Yahav, co-owned by the state, the Civil Servants Union and Bank Hapoalim, has for years exclusively granted preferred terms to civil servants at a high cost to the Finance Ministry. The bank has been offering cheap loans, charging public employees low fees. However, at the end of last year, the Finance Ministry's accountant general division headed by Accountant General Yaron Zelekha published a tender calling on all banks to provide banking services at preferred rates for civil servants, which Bank Yahav had been providing exclusively without a tender. The tender means Bank Yahav could lose its unique franchise to handle the accounts of over 85,000 state employees. The idea is to parcel out this franchise, in the spirit of free and open competition, among any competing commercial banks. In reaction, the Civil Servants Union, which owns 25 percent of the bank, launched labor sanctions against the tender, which last November led to the closure of government offices to the public, including receiving telephone calls. The Bank Yahav tender had stirred up yet another storm at the Finance Ministry between Zelekha and former director general Yossi Bachar, after the latter postponed the tender process by three months until March 31 following an agreement reached between the Treasury and the Civil Servants Union to end the labor sanctions. As a result of the new agreement, the Civil Servants Union is calling upon the Treasury to limit the tender process to the provision of loans only.