Hapoalim cancels fees for Holocaust survivors [p. 17]

Bank Hapoalim on Monday was the first bank to immediately cancel the commission fees the bank charged on the transfer and currency exchange on reparations that Holocaust survivors receive from abroad. "I very much hope that our decision will help this important part of the population, which is being compensated," said Zvi Ziv, CEO of Bank Hapoalim in a response letter to Moshe Kahlon, chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee, who on Sunday sent a letter to all the local banks demanding the cancellation of any fees charged for the transfer and currency exchange transactions of compensation funds received by survivors of the Holocaust. The Knesset Economics Committee, which is in the process of reviewing legislation, which would limit the ability of banks to impose fees on customers and allow third-party supervision over fee increases, decided to act on behalf of complaints received from the survivors about the fees they were charged. The other banks - apart from Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, which said that it did not charge any fees for the transactions of Holocaust reparations in the first place - were still reviewing Kahlon's request. This month, the Knesset Economics committee announced its support for reform within the banking industry, which would include decentralization of the top banks, elimination of fees and greater transparency for customers. Bank fees became a hot topic last month after Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank announced plans to raise many of their charges, angering customers. In response, Committee has been reviewing legislations proposed by MK Amnon Cohen and MK Gilad Ardan, which would limit the ability of banks to levy fees on customers, impose third-party supervision over fee increases, as well as ban certain types of fees such as the penalties imposed on customers who attempt to switch to another bank.