Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi face fines of one million shekels each, while Isracard Financial Company faces a fine of 250,000 shekels (Reuters)

The Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post said that, in a new blow to the Israeli banking sector, major financial institutions are scheduled to pay heavy fines, due to poor service and poor compliance with regulations and laws.

Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi face fines of one million shekels each, while Isracard Financial faces a fine of 250,000 shekels. The Bank of Israel revealed that the sanctions are part of a crackdown on service interruptions and consumer issues after an investigation conducted by officials at the Bank of Israel.

According to the newspaper, the penalty imposed on Bank Hapoalim comes as a result of blatant disregard for banking supervision regulations. The bank faced allegations of denying entry to some customers and denying service to those who had not scheduled an appointment in advance. This violation sparked complaints from customers who found themselves stranded outside branches. “Secret inspections” also revealed illegal actions taken by the bank.

Bank Leumi finds itself in trouble due to violations related to debt collection (French)

Bank Hapoalim's actions raised serious concerns about its commitment to customer service and adherence to regulatory guidelines.

Debt collection violations

Likewise, Bank Leumi finds itself in trouble, due to debt collection violations. An examination of the sample revealed serious deficiencies in reports submitted for debt enforcement, including cases where reports were not submitted to enforce judgments. The bank also faces criticism for late reports to the Enforcement Office and failure to report debt arrangements within a reasonable time frame.

Isracard Financial, the credit card arm of Bank Hapoalim, was not spared from the regulatory crackdown either. The company is scheduled to pay a fine of 250,000 shekels, due to long waiting times at its call center.

Banking Supervisor Daniel Hahiachvili expressed his concerns about the fairness of the banking system’s dealings with its customers, stressing the importance of adhering to consumer protection laws. “We see the utmost importance in complying with consumer protection laws while focusing on providing professional, accessible and high-quality service to customers in all banking service channels,” Hahiashvili said.

The Jerusalem Post points out that customers are left to bear the brunt of poor service, while financial institutions face minimal consequences, due to their lapses in compliance.

Source: Jerusalem Post