Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber paid a visit yesterday to bank branches in the Negev: a mobile branch of Bank Leumi that had come to provide banking services to a seniors’ residence in the community of Omer, and a branch of Bank Hapoalim in Rahat. The visit was part of a regular series of visits the Supervisor makes throughout Israel in order to meet customers and employees and gain an impression of how things are managed in the field.

In view of the trend toward closing permanent branches, and the need to provide a response to the banking needs of population groups that are finding the transition to the digital age difficult, the Banking Supervision Department published a permit in 2016 to allow for the operation of mobile and partial branches.  Three banks—Leumi, Poalim and Union Bank—recently began operating such branches.

A mobile branch offers almost all banking services, including depositing and withdrawing cash, depositing checks, deposits to savings plans, taking out loans, printing out account statements, making transfers, and more.  Mobile branches operate continuously, and come to seniors’ residences throughout Israel and to outlying communities that do not have a permanent branch.

The Supervisor of Banks spoke with branch employees and with customers, and was positively impressed with the level of customer satisfaction and with the branches’ operations, mainly in making banking services accessible to elderly customers through the mobile branch, and with the transition of customers in all sectors to use of direct means in carrying out a large portion of their banking activities.  She was told that 50 percent of all banking activity in Rahat is done through direct means, such as the use of ATMs with public accessibility, the banks’ websites, and cellphone applications.

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber said that, “With the aim of providing a response to elderly customers who have difficulty acclimating themselves to changes in banking, and in particular to the closure of bank branches and teller windows, the Banking Supervision Department allowed the banks to operate mobile branches that would come at fixed intervals for a few hours at a time to outlying areas and would make these services accessible to such customers.  This is alongside many new tools demanded by the Banking Supervision Department and developed by the banks, which are intended to make it easier for customers to transition to digital banking.  Today’s visit to the seniors’ residence with the mobile branch illustrated for me that this service is really helping the senior population, and the residents expressed a high level of satisfaction with the new measure.  The mobile branch, which includes an ATM machine, an information station and a teller, enables customers to carry out all banking activity, and also to obtain personal guidance from a teller regarding the bank’s new digital tools.”​