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Banks of Israel obliged to help new immigrants

July 3, 2023 120 Time to read: 2 min.

Aliya to Israel in 2022 alone amounted to about 70 thousand repatriates. Most from Eastern Europe. Such a number of newcomers led to the fact that Israeli banks began to create obstacles for them in banking operations.

Reasons for making demands

Banking assistance measures were taken by the Bank of Israel due to increased complaints from repatriates from Eastern Europe about difficulties in accepting money transfers and opening bank accounts.

The difficulty may have been caused by a situation that occurred several years ago: due to helping American clients in tax evasion, Israeli banks paid heavy fines to the US authorities. This has led banks to “reduce risks” by preventing repatriates from providing banking services.

Bank of Israel claims

Bank Inspector Yair Avidan sent a circular of requirements to commercial banks, in which he demanded that banks fulfill the following aspects:

Creation of a single standard for opening an account for new repatriates, including a single set of documents for the client and the bank in the country of origin to verify the source of money;
Introduction of an acceptable period during which the bank is obliged to respond to the request;

Providing a reasoned written response in case of refusal to open an account. This requirement arose because many repatriates over the past year were denied opening an account and accepting money transfers, without any reasoning for this decision.

During the July meeting with the leadership of the banking sector, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Israel came to an agreement on the creation of a special plan that will create conditions for unhindered transfers of funds from Eastern Europe to Israel.


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