The Banking Supervision Department instructs the banking system to grant priority in human response to phone calls to elderly customers and customers with disabilities
In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of direct means of banking, in parallel with a decline in customers coming to the bank branches. Most banking services can currently be obtained through digital means—a banking application or the bank’s website—or through telephone call centers (such as cash transfers, deposits or withdrawals from deposits, ordering checkbooks, providing loans, paying off loans, cancelling credit cards, changing charge dates, and more) including call centers operated by the banks.
The banks have installed customer relationship management (CRM) systems that, inter alia, allow bank employees at the call centers to obtain a complete picture of the state of activity in the customer’s accounts, thereby enabling the customer to obtain a wide variety of account services through the call center. Technological improvements, including those made as part of call center activities, have increased the availability of banking services to the public without the customer having to go to the branch during specific hours of operation, and helping them avoid having to stand in line. Service through the call center should be more convenient and available for some elderly and disabled customers who find it difficult to use the application or website.
In March 2017, the Knesset approved Amendment number 15 to the Senior Citizens Law, 5750–1989, which set out that every senior citizen above the age of 80 who requests it, will be given priority in a (physical) line for “public service”. In keeping with this legislation, and complementary to it, the Banking Supervision Department is initiating a new Proper Conduct of Banking Business directive requiring banks and credit card companies to allow elderly customers (those above the age of 80) and customers with disabilities to be given priority in the wait for a human telephone response.
Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber said, “The banking system in Israel and around the world is in the midst of a technological revolution that is making banking services more available and convenient for most customers. The Banking Supervision Department is aware of the fact that there are customers who find it difficult to get used to the change, and is acting to make things easier for them. In view of this, we have approached the banks with a new requirement to give elderly and disabled customers priority in the wait for the call center, as an additional measure to assist customers in the transition to direct means of banking.”