Checks and restricted customers - Data and trends during the COVID crisis
The data and the outline of their trends show that the risk level involved in check transactions in the Israeli economy declined significantly in recent months. This decline is reflected in a decline in the rate and in the volume of checks without cover, even relative to routine times. This situation also reflects a persistent and consistent decline in the number of accounts over which a “bank” restriction has been imposed (meaning a restriction imposed due to a refusal of checks without cover, in contrast with a “nonbank” restriction, which is imposed due to a debt to the Enforcement Authority or bankruptcy proceedings), a decline that continued until the end of 2020—even after the end of the leniencies published by the Ministry of Justice in relation to the imposition of restrictions due to checks without cover.
Alongside this, the decline in economic activity in view of the spread of the pandemic, the lockdowns, and the health restrictions, together with the cancellation of checks and suspension of account restrictions at the start of the crisis, apparently led to a reduction in the volume of check use, with a parallel increase in the level of caution in transactions that continued to be made during the reviewed period.
 Source: Banking system reports to the Banking Supervision Department.
 The data presented in the figures are divided into three periods during 2020: the outbreak of the crisis and the immediate suspension of restrictions (March 24 to June 22), the end of the suspension and continued leniencies (exclusion of checks) in accordance with the Justice Minister’s regulations (June 23 to August 10), and the period with no additional waivers or leniencies in the legally mandated sanctions (August 11 to the end of the year). The figures also show average data for 2019 as a routine period benchmark.