The Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Israel today published a draft directive the aim of which is to regulate telephone answering arrangements for customers of the banking system, and to limit waiting times until a human response is received when a customer calls the call center.

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber said, “The draft directive published today is intended to make sure that the banks and credit card companies provide customers of the banking system with a professional telephone answering service that is high quality and efficient, through the call centers, and to ensure that in urgent cases, customers calling the centers will receive a rapid human response.  This is in addition to the support and removal of barriers that the Banking Supervision Department is leading in order to promote a response to customers through digital means as well, such as sending SMS messages, email, online chat with a human or electronic representative, as a response to customer demand for these means of communication.”


Banking corporations provide their customers with a response service through a variety of means of communication and through various technological means (Internet, cellular, automatic machines, telephone), including through telephone call centers.  The objective of this directive is to anchor and regulate the banking corporation’s duties to provide customers with a professional telephone response, and to limit the waiting time to receive a human response when a customer calls, with the aim of ensuring improved and streamlined service provided to customers of the banking system by phone.


This directive applies the main commonly accepted requirements concerning telephone response, as consistent with consumer protection laws, to the banking corporations, with changes that are necessary and relevant to the banking system, and adds requirements for on-going monitoring and control, the results of which will be reported to the senior management and Board of Directors, with the aim of ensuring the effective implementation of the requirements of this directive.


The following are the main requirements of the directive:

·     The banking corporations are required to provide customers with a professional human response through a telephone call center.

·     When the waiting time at the call center exceeds three minutes, the banking corporations are required to notify a customer calling the center what the estimated waiting time is until a human response can be received, and to enable the customer to request that his call be returned.

·     Calls with a high level of urgency for the customer (such as: calls regarding returned checks or the loss of a payment card) will be directed to a rapid response as immediate as possible, and will receive a response within three hours from the time the customer leaves a message, at the very most.

·     Other calls that are not defined as highly urgent, shall be answered by the banking corporations within a time frame that does not exceed two business days from the time the message is left by the customer.

·     Banking corporations shall gather and monitor data regarding answer patterns and waiting times for a human response, with the aim of ensuring that the proper level of resources are invested and that proper administrative processes are carried out to ensure that quality and proper service is provided to the banking corporation’s customers calling the call center.