FAQ for Bank Customers in View of the Corona Crisis

Dear customers
We have put together a file of frequently asked questions (FAQ) concerning the implications of the corona crisis for households and small businesses in regard to their banking activity.  The Bank of Israel and the Banking Supervision Department are carefully monitoring developments and are prepared to intervene if necessary.  We are attentive to you and remain at your service. For urgent enquiries, please contact the Banking Supervision Department’s public enquiries call center at: 02-655-2680.

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Q&A In View of the Corona Virus

Is there a risk to a particular bank or to the entire banking system?

The banking system in Israel is a stable system and no danger is facing the banks or the

public’s funds deposited in them. The BSD’s directives obligate banks to maintain monetary

reserves of capital to ensure their ongoing operations also in the event of an emergency.

Maintaining the banks’ stability on a routine basis enables the banking system to be resilient to

crises today. The banks have capital surplus, high liquidity ratios and high quality credit

portfolio.

Is it possible to withdraw cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at any time?

It is possible to withdraw cash from the ATMs at any time. The banks are making sure

that the ATMs are full with banknotes and are available for the execution of withdrawals or

deposits throughout the period. In order to ensure the continued provision of banknote

withdrawal services from ATMs, it was established that the banks, private ATM operators, and

money courier services are critical employees and thus the service continues without interruption

and there is no concern of a shortage of cash in the ATMs.

Will the banks continue to work as usual?

The banks are essential entities, and therefore banking services will continue to be accessible to the public even during the crisis. In order to reduce the fear of contagion, the Supervisor of Banks has allowed banking corporations to reduce their public reception services to designated branches only (please see the Supervisor’s letter dated 15.3.2020). These branches will focus on urgent and essential services, and there may be a restriction on services which are not necessary, such as: transferring a bank account, closing an account, restoring historical documents, etc.

In order to avoid contagion with the virus, it is recommended to avoid coming to the branches unnecessarily, and to carry out transactions, as much as possible, via digital channels or the bank’s call center.

Attached please find the link to the list of core branches accessible to the public.

Attached please find the link to the banking corporations’ call-center phone numbers.​

What am I to do if my branch is closed?

​​We recommend you check whether you can carry out the transaction via the bank’s website or its app. Furthermore, you can contact the bank’s call center to verify if the transaction can be carried out via the phone or the banks’ ATM. In addition, there are branches that have been defined as core branches which provide services to the public, also at these times (for more information, please see the answer to question 3).​

Can I continue conducting transactions in my securities portfolio?

The online trading platform will continue to operate and provide the necessary services.​ 

What leniencies have been added to the services in order to assist the elderly customer and the challenged population?

The Banking Supervision Department instructed the banks to provide an extended and personalized response to customers aged 75 and above, both at call centers and at core branches, in order to provide in-person services to customers who are unable to connect to direct digital channels.

There are banks which offer designated services for you (e.g., a designated call center or a mobile branch). We recommend checking directly with the bank which services it offers.​

I receive National Insurance benefits and can retrieve them only by coming in person to the bank clerk. What should I do if I am quarantined or the bank branches are closed and I won’t be able to go to the branch?

Bank customers who receive National Insurance allowances are entitled, as are all customers, to receive a basic means of payment, to include a cash withdrawal card and a debit card. The banking system has started sending debit cards to customers who receive an allowance, and who do not have a payment card and usually withdraw their allowances via the branch’s teller services. This can substantially reduce the need for withdrawing cash, since the debit card enables withdrawing cash, as well as making payments and purchasing products and services, similar to a credit card (though the customer’s account is debited for the amount of the transaction immediately).

Thus, in light of the Ministry of Health’s updated guidelines on reducing movement in public spaces, customers will be able to use the debit card and conduct transactions from a distance (via the telephone or the Internet), as necessary.

In addition to these actions, the banks will send customers a contract with the bank for receiving the debit card. The customers will be asked to sign the contract. The customer is to sign the contract before activating the card, and to send the signed contract or a copy thereof to the bank by November 1, 2020.

The following is a link to the press release on this matter:


https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/22-3-20.aspx


Furthermore, bank customers who receive an allowance from the National Insurance Institute, are eligible to join an online banking service, which enables them to receive information and conduct activities remotely, except in cases where the Bank has reasonable grounds to refuse. We suggest that customers who receive allowances call the Bank and implement their rights in these matters.

The following is a link to the Bank of Israel’s website, “Worth knowing” on debit cards.​


https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/30-6-19.aspx​


What should I do if I need to get to the branch and I am in quarantine or ill?

In accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, you are not to leave your home if you are quarantined or ill. Most banking activities can now be done via digital means, and there is no need to come to the bank’s branch. If you do not find a way or means to carry out the banking activity via the website or the app, or it is not possible, you can contact the banking corporation’s call center and check which options are available to carry out this particular activity.

Attached please find the link to the banking corporations’ call-center phone numbers.​

What steps are banks taking to benefit customers?

The banking system has been harnessed to assist businesses, households and the entire economy to transcend this crisis, as reflected in numerous initiatives which various banks advertised to their clients during the past week:

1.      Facilitating the repayment of mortgages,  by deferring the monthly payment for a period of several months;

2.      Loans to small and medium businesses, which have encountered liquidity problems due to the crisis—in the framework of the Small Businesses Fund which the Ministry of Finance expanded, and designated independent programs which the banks created for businesses;

3.      Suggestions for deposits adjusted to market volatility (in accordance with information published by the banks on internet websites and the media);

4.      Offering remote extended digital services, in order to make it easier for customers who do not wish to go to the branches at this time, and in particular establishing a call-center for older citizens;

5.      Providing a delivery service for quarantined customers.

6.      The Bank initiated offering another credit line, for a limited time without fees.

7.      Postponing payment of existing loans for private clients, authorized dealers and corporations affected by the crisis, for a period of 3 months at the Bank’s discretion.​

What is the Banking Supervision Department (BSD) doing to assist bank customers to cope with the crisis?

The BSD announced “regulatory easings in response to the coronavirus crisis,” to assist households and businesses to cope with the crisis, relying on the robust state of the banking system. The BSD conveyed to the banks a message encouraging them to act in favor of the customers as much as possible, with flexibility and consideration.

The following is a list of easings that are relevant to the public:

A.    Easing the restrictions on household loans using a home as collateral for any purpose:

In order to meet the credit needs of households, a bank may extend a loan using a home as collateral for any purpose (i.e., extending the client’s existing mortgage, that is not for the purpose of purchasing another apartment), at a financing rate of up to 70% (prior to this, the limitation was a 50% financing rate). Providing this loan in accordance with this leniency will be subject to the borrower’s statement that the deviation from a 50% financing rate is not for the purpose of purchasing another apartment (an apartment for investment purposes). It should be emphasized that granting this credit will be done in accordance with the bank’s assessment of the risks and business considerations in each case.

B.    Leniencies for credit facility management in current accounts

​Due to the coronavirus crisis, more customers are expected to face cash-flow difficulties. The BSD introduced amendments to its directives, which are intended to enable banking corporations to honor customers’ charges that exceed their credit limit, thus making it possible for them to honor their customers’ charges even when these do not have a credit line. To this end, it has been clarified that the provision of a payment order (such as, an order for a bank transfer from the account, or a check which must be redeemed from the account) or a payment requirement by authorized debit, will be considered as the customer’s request to increase their credit line. In addition, the period during which the credit line can be exceeded until a framework is achieved as required by the directive has been extended from 1 business day to 3, in order to assist banks to provide an answer even when experiencing a shortage of employees. The amendment creates a balance between the need to allow customers to continue managing their account reasonably during this difficult period, and on the other hand ensures that increasing the credit in the account will be directly tailored to the client’s needs.

c.    Leniency that will allow the general public to conduct banking activities without going to the branches

As per the existing directives, joining banking services from afar, without arriving at the branch by means of “e-banking,” is done exclusively at the customer’s initiative. To enable all customers at this time to conduct banking activities from afar without having to arrive at the branch, banks and credit-card companies may offer all customers to join the remote services, for example, via the bank’s call-center, “e-banking,” to obtain information and to perform activities via the phone, the website and the bank’s app.

d.    Leniencies with regard to standing orders

In order to facilitate matters for the customers, and in particular for older ones who find it difficult to navigate the digital channels, and who are advised to avoid public places including the bank’s branches, it is possible for the banks to receive instructions from their customers to cancel a specific authorized debit or debits per authorization by phone and not only by written notice. The conversation must be recorded.

Hereunder please find the link to the press release on this topic.

https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/15-03-20.aspx


 

e.     Leniencies with regard to receiving banking services over the phone

The coronavirus crisis created a need to enable customers to carry out extensive banking activities without arriving at the bank’s branches, in order to maintain the health of the public and that of the bank’s employees. For customers who have difficulty using digital means such as the bank’s app or its website, the telephone has become the main channel for them to receive most of the banking services. In light of the fact that during this period, banking corporations are experiencing difficulty maintaining a routine in the call centers, the BSD determined that during the crisis, it will be possible to have customers join the “Electronic Banking” agreement as well as the credit granting agreements (except for housing loans) also by means of customer consent over the phone. It will not be obligatory to record such phone calls, provided the banking corporations document these calls in alternate ways.

https://www.boi.org.il/en/BankingSupervision/LettersAndCircularsSupervisorOfBanks/LettersOfTheBankingSupervisionDepartment/202009en.pdf


 Attached please find the Supervisor of Banks letter on this topic.

​The leniencies detailed in sections 1-5 above will remain in effect until September 30, 2020. If necessary, the Bank of Israel will extend the validity of these easings in accordance with developments.

f.     Assisting customers in withdrawing National Insurance allowances

With the encouragement of the Banking Supervision Department, the banking system has begun sending debit cards to customers who receive an allowance, and who do not have a debit card and usually withdraw their allowances via the branch’s teller services. This can substantially reduce the need for withdrawing cash, since the instant debit card enables withdrawing cash, as well as paying with it and purchasing products and services similarly to a credit card (although the customer’s account is debited for the amount of the transaction immediately).

Thus, in light of the Ministry of health’s updated guidelines on reducing moving about in public spaces, the customers will be able to use the instant debit card and conduct transactions remotely (via the telephone or the Internet), as necessary.

In parallel, the banks will send customers a contract with the bank for receiving the debit card. At the Banking Supervision Department’s initiative, the Payment Card Law has been amended. The signature requirement to validate the contract has been replaced for the time being with a requirement to provide reasonable opportunity to review the contract before it is finalized, obtain the customer’s consent to finalizing the contract, document that consent, and provide a copy of the contract and documentation of the consent. 


The following is a link to the press release on this matter:

https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/22-3-20.aspx

The following is a link to the Bank of Israel’s website, “Worth knowing” on debit cards.


https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Documents/DebitCard.pdf​

​ 

g.    Suspending the restriction on bank accounts due to checks without cover

In order to help those businesses and households which encountered flow difficulties unexpectedly as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, the BSD determined that the restriction on accounts due to returned checks will be suspended as of March 4th, 2020, in accordance with the time period determined by law. This means that a check that was deposited as of the said date and was returned due to lack of sufficient coverage, will not be taken into account when counting returned checks for imposing a restriction by law. In the event the afore-mentioned returned check is the tenth one which would induce the account to be restricted, the restriction will be suspended pending an announcement by the Bank of Israel concerning the end of the period of suspension.

The following is a link to the press release on this topic.

https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/23-3-20.aspx​

 

h.    Leniencies in depositing checks via mobile device


In order to assist the public with carrying out banking activity remotely at this time, the Bank of Israel decided to increase the amount of an individual check that can be deposited via the banking application on mobile device to NIS 50,000 effective immediately.

The coronavirus crisis in Israel and worldwide, and the steps taken by the government, have ramifications on the ability of many households and businesses to get to bank branches to deposit checks.

In 2017, the Bank of Israel promoted, together with the banking system, the check clearing reform that makes it possible to deposit checks by photographing the check with a mobile phone. This option has been available to customers for about 3 years and was limited to a maximum of NIS 20,000 per check.


https://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/26-3-20.aspx​

 

I.       Issuing a debit card to insolvent customers

The Banking Supervision Department guided to banks to allow the issuance of a debit card to insolvent customers and have them join a service that allows the execution of transactions via the bank’s Internet site, application, etc., without needing the approval of the trustee for each particular request. This is based on the stance of the official receiver who has given blanket approval to this. This step will make the process of insolvent customers joining these services much easier, to the extent they want to do so.

The Banking Supervision Department calls on the banking corporations to make every effort to locate their customers who manage accounts in which an allowance or salary is received, and that do not have any payment card that enables them to execute transactions remotely and/or are not connected to activity via direct channels (bank website, application, etc.) and to offer them to join such services.

Customers who do not have any type of card that enables them to withdraw money and execute transactions remotely and/or provides them with access to executing activities remotely via the Internet, are invited to contact their bank and to request to join these services.

The BSD is closely monitoring developments and will publish additional leniencies as needed.

i.      Issuing a debit card to insolvent customers who are restricted under special circumstances

In order to enable insolvent customers who are restricted under special circumstances to issue a debit card, the Banking Supervision Department initiated an amendment to the Enforcement and Collections Law, which will enable the issuance of a debit card to insolvent customers during the emergency period, even in case where they have a credit facility in their account, which was prohibited prior to the amendment. The Banking Supervision Department is closely monitoring developments and will publish additional leniencies as needed.




I own a small business. My activities are nil due to the crisis and I am concerned checks will be returned in my account, what should I do? How can I increase my credit line at this time?

The State allocated guarantees of billions of shekels to help small businesses in the framework of designated loans fund. The banks provide credit at their discretion and in accordance to the existing probability that the borrower will be able to repay the credit received after the crisis ends. In light of the fund being established, the banks have the option of giving more credit. The BSD suggests that you contact your bank, and verify the possibility of receiving assistance through this fund. Furthermore, regardless of the fund, the banks will be able to increase the credit line and even honor the charges, due to the regulatory leniencies which the BSD provided.

In the event of encountering a difficulty in managing the account, it is very important to convey this to the bank so that it can examine whether to provide assistance in finding a solution, for example, more convenient deployment of the credit taken or deferral of payments.

It is at the bank’s discretion whether to authorize credit to the customer.

The decision whether to authorize credit is based upon the circumstances of each particular case and subject to the bank’s assessment of the risks.​

As a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, I am concerned that I will not be able to meet my commitments in my account, what should I do?

It is very important that you convey to the bank the difficulties you anticipate. To the extent these difficulties are related to the coronavirus crisis, the bank will be able to assist you in finding a solution, for example, more convenient deployment of the credit you took or affording payment delays. The banking system is aware of the difficulties its customers encountered and with the encouragement of the Banking Supervision Department, is acting to help customers find suitable solutions. However, the decisions regarding the provision of credit and the assistance to businesses and households will be in accordance with the bank’s risk assessment in each case.​

I am concerned that the banks will initiate collection procedures against me as a result of problems in my account. What should I do?

It is very important to convey your difficulties to the bank and discuss with it options to help you in ways such as deploying debit, delaying payment, increasing the credit-line, and more.​

How can I keep track of what is going on in my account at this time?

One can accomplish this via the bank’s website, its app., and via the bank’s call-center. Call-centers are very busy these days, and waiting for them to answer may take time. Therefore, whosoever can receive an answer to their questions by digital means, is welcome to do so.​

Why is it important to track what’s going on in one’s account?

It is very important to track what’s going on in one’s account, in order not to exceed, as far as is possible, one’s credit line. To the extent that an account is expected to be debited (either by check or authorized debit) in the case of insufficient funds, it is advisable to contact the billing entities to request payment deferral or to contact the bank and request a temporary or permanent credit-line increase. Checks that return due to lack of coverage may induce limitation on the account. Furthermore, negative information on account activities is reported to the credit database. Therefore, it is important to track what is going on in the account, and to be pro-active, in order not to exceed the credit line and incur returned debits.

For more information on this topic, please see the link to questions and answers on checks without coverage on the Credit Database page:

https://www.boi.org.il/en/ConsumerInformation/ConsumerIssues/Pages/ChecksGeneral.aspx​

If I reach my credit limit, what should I do? Is it better for me to increase it or take a loan?

It is very important not to exceed the credit limit to avoid returned debit, including checks, for lack of coverage.  If you reach your credit limit, and you don’t have a balance in a deposit or another account from which you could transfer to your current account, you can apply to the bank for a loan or an increase in your credit limit. Given the circumstances, the Banking Supervision Department has, among other regulatory leniencies, facilitated the increase in credit limit. However, one must bear in mind, that it is at the bank’s discretion whether to grant credit, also during this period, and one should apply to the bank with an appropriate request. The advantage of an increased credit limit, is the flexibility of repayment, whereas the advantage of taking a loan is that the interest rate on it will be lower than for the increased credit. It is important to note that the interest on a loan with collateral of a residential apartment or some other security will be lower than that for a loan without collateral. Everyone should examine the options available to them, and decide what’s best for them.

Please see the guide on Credit​

If up until now I couldn’t connect to the bank’s website, how can I login to it now?

If up until now you weren’t connected to the bank’s website, you can call your bank’s call-center and request to join the electronic banking services. The Banking Supervision Department’s directives enable customers to join “Electronic banking” from afar in order to receive information and to carry out transactions by means of various channels, such as: telephone, the website, the bank’s app., thereby, absolving the need to come to the bank.​

I am a licensed dealer who manages the business account together with the private account. Will the restriction incurred due to returned checks as a result of business activity restrict all my activities in the account?

By law, the restriction is imposed on all checking activity in the account, without distinction between business and private activity. When the conditions warrant a restriction (10 returned checks in the absence of coverage within a period of 12 months) the law prohibits the continued use of checks in the entire account for the duration of the restriction.​

Is the Banking Supervision Department (BSD) planning more extensive intervention?

The BSD is closely monitoring developments and will expand its intervention as needed.​

Can the bank raise the interest rate on a new mortgage due to the current situation?

Due to the significant changes occurring in the economy because of the coronavirus crisis, there has been a significant increase in both the costs for recruiting the bank’s resources (including an increase in the risk-free interest in the market) as well as in the risk of certain borrower/markets. These two factors are a central component in the Bank’s interest rate pricing. Accordingly, the interest rate offered on new applications for mortgage loans is rising.

If you were offered interest on a mortgage before the crisis broke out and the bank gave you approval by principle to grant you a loan, according to the BSD’s directives, the banking corporation is to determine a period of no less than 24 days, wherein you can submit the required documentation for the bank to verify the loan application data. During this time period the interest rate offered by the Bank, with the principle approval of loans at a fixed interest rate, will be maintained, as will the  interest rate spread beyond the interest rate anchor in the variable interest rate channels, the interest rate anchor itself may also change during these days.​

Do I have to go to the Bank’s branch in order to join “Electronic Banking,” or to receive credit?

There is no need to arrive at the bank. It is possible to join “Electronic Banking” or make a credit agreement over the phone or the internet.​ 

Checks return in my account and I am concerned that my account will be restricted during the coronavirus crisis. Will leniencies be afforded on this topic?

In order to help those businesses and households which encountered flow difficulties unexpectedly as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, the BSD determined that the restriction on accounts due to returned checks will be suspended as of March 4th, 2020, in accordance with the time period determined by law. However, a check returned due to lack of coverage during the coronavirus crisis will be reported to the Credit Data System and this will affect the customer’s financial rating. It is important to note that although the returned check will not result in a restriction on the account, nonetheless the recipient of the check is eligible to contact the Execution Office to initiate a collection procedure (in accordance with information published by the Enforcement and Collection Authority).

If a customer cancels an uncovered check, the check will still be returned for lack of coverage. Therefore, it is recommended that in cases wherein there isn’t enough money in the account to cover the check, that you contact the person or entity receiving the check and request that they do not deposit it and instead come to an alternative arrangement with them.

Attached please find the link to the press release​ 

Due to the coronavirus crisis it will be very difficult for me to meet my mortgage repayment. What should I do in order to postpone these payments?

To the extent that the difficulty you encounter is connected to the coronavirus virus crisis, the bank can help you find a solution, for example, by suggesting a more convenient mortgage deployment or a deferral of payments. The banking system is aware of the difficulties encountered by its customers and endeavors to assist them in finding suitable solutions. Although decisions regarding the granting of credit and assistance to businesses and households will be in accordance to the banks risk assessment in each case.

Attached please find a list of the banks’ call centers.

 ​

May I deposit a check for NIS 50,000 via mobile phone, and thus eliminate the need to go to the branch?

In order to assist the public with carrying out banking activity remotely at this time, the Bank of Israel decided to increase the amount of an individual check that can be deposited via the banking application on mobile device to NIS 50,000 effective immediately. The coronavirus crisis in Israel and worldwide, and the steps taken by the government, have ramifications on the ability of many households and businesses to get to bank branches to deposit checks.

In 2017, the Bank of Israel promoted, together with the banking system, the check clearing reform that makes it possible to deposit checks by photographing the check with a mobile phone. This option has been available to customers for about 3 years and was limited to a maximum of NIS 20,000 per check.​

I am in bankruptcy and I am interested in the bank issuing a debit card for me so that I will not have to go into the branch, can I receive this service?

The Banking Supervision Department guided to banks to allow the issuance of a debit card to insolvent customers and have them join a service that allows the execution of transactions via the bank’s Internet site, application, etc., without needing the approval of the trustee for each particular request. This is based on the stance of the official receiver who has given blanket approval to this. This step will make the process of insolvent customers joining these services much easier, to the extent they want to do so.

The Banking Supervision Department calls on the banking corporations to make every effort to locate their customers who manage accounts in which an allowance or salary is received, and that do not have any payment card that enables them to execute transactions remotely and/or are not connected to activity via direct channels (bank website, application, etc.), and to offer them to join such services.

Customers who do not have any type of card that enables them to withdraw money and execute transactions remotely and/or provides them with access to executing activities remotely via the Internet, are invited to contact their bank and to request to join these services.​

According to what has been published in the media regarding the Supervisor of Banks guidelines, will checks without cover not be returned or counted as checks without cover? For how long?

 The Supervisor of Banks guidelines for suspending restrictions due to checks without cover do not affect the reason for the return.  In other words, a check without cover will still be considered as such, and will be reported to the Credit Data Register in the case of an individual customer or authorized business (bank account managed on the basis of an ID card). Moreover, the guidelines are for a limited time. After that period is over, if complementary regulations are not enacted by the Minister of Justice, the returned checks that should have led to a restriction will be counted, and the suspended restrictions will take effect.​

Until when will the restrictions regarding checks without cover be suspended?

The Supervisor of Banks has the ability to stop the guidelines at any time she chooses. In any case, they will no longer be effective as of June 20, 2020, the latest date on which these guidelines can be valid pursuant to the law.

I am on unpaid leave, and in view of the fact that I have no income, I am in a state of complete uncertainty, and have therefore decided to cancel me rent payments for the coming months. What is my risk?

Other than the ethical problem of not paying debts, and the resulting negative reputation, the cancellation of a check is grounds for opening debt collection proceedings with the Enforcement and Collections Agency, which may include various sanctions such as liens on all bank accounts, imposing a restriction under special circumstances on all bank accounts, prohibiting the issuance of credit cards, invalidation of driver’s licenses, and more.  This is in addition to late payment interest.

In addition, if these checks do not have cover when they are presented for payment, it is reported to the Central Credit Data Register, and may have a negative effect on your credit rating as a customer of the financial system (this relates to individuals and authorized businesses), and in cases where you have cancelled 5 checks or more that have returned due to insufficient funds, a negative statement may be transmitted to merchants and financial institutions regarding a pre-restriction warning.

Finally, you must remember that this check may be counted among checks without cover and lead to the imposition of a restriction if the suspension of restrictions ends, unless regulations are enacted that would remove these checks permanently.

In view of all this, it is recommended to coordinate the delay of payment with the landlord, and to ask him not to deposit the checks you have given him.​

Contrary to those who have cancelled checks even though they have received what they paid for, I cancelled checks that were intended for transportation services for one of my children that were cancelled due to the situation. Do I have anyth

While in this case there are grounds to cancel the check, because you did not receive anything in return, you must remember that if the check is presented for payment, then despite the cancellation, the balance (including available credit facility) will be examined, and without sufficient cover, it will be returned for insufficient funds, reported to the credit data register, and may be counted for the purposes of restrictions, after the end of the suspension of restrictions.​

I heard that the Enforcement and Collections Agency is not opening files, and have stopped debt collection proceedings. Does this mean that people cannot use these tools against me for a check that I did not pay?

Due to the emergency situation, the Minister of Justice issued guidance to suspend the opening of files and debt collection proceedings, including checks that have not been honored.  However, it is important to note that this does not mean the deletion of debts, but rather a temporary delay in the proceedings.  The check holder has seven years to initiate collections proceedings and sanctions.​

From what age is priority given for telephone response?

The definition of “senior citizen” was revised by the Banking Supervision Department so that the minimum age from which a customer is given preference in waiting for a telephone response is 70.  This was done with the aim of enabling many more elderly customers, who, according to Ministry of Health guidelines, are at increased risk in case of exposure to the corona virus and are therefore asked not to leave their homes at this time, to obtain better service.​

I asked to close my bank account, and it has not yet been closed after 5 business days from the date on which I completed all the actions required of me. Within how much time should the bank close my account during the crisis?

In order to help banking corporation employees deal with customer requests to close accounts during the period of reduced branch operation and manpower shortages, as a result of the development of the corona pandemic, the period was extended to 14 business days from the date on which the customer completed the actions required of him in accordance with the Proper Conduct of Banking Business directive pertaining to the transfer of activity and closure of a customer’s bank account.​

Within how much time should the bank provide me with documents pertaining to the mortgage process during the crisis period?

In order to enable bank employees to focus on handling urgent cases of assistance to customers on matters pertaining to the development of the corona crisis during a period of reduced branch activity and manpower shortages, a number of dates set out in the Proper Conduct of Banking Business directives pertaining to the provision of housing loans have been extended.  The date for issuing letters of intent was extended from three to eight business days.  The time within which the banking corporation must issue settlement confirmation was extended from five to eight business days.  In cases where the payment was made using cash or using a bank transfer, and the borrower provided the banking corporation with documentation of the payment, the date for issuing settlement confirmation was extended from two to six business days.  The time within which the bank must notify that it has insured the borrower in cases where the policy issued does not meet its requirements was extended from 14 business days to one calendar month.

The range of the extensions is proportional and was determined with the aim of enabling the banking corporations to meet their obligations, while also minimizing the potential negative impact to customers.​

I am a debtor with the Enforcement and Collections Agency. Can I be issued a debit card?

In order to enable debtor customers with the status of “restricted under special circumstances” to receive a debit card, the Banking Supervision Department initiated an amendment to the Enforcement and Collections Law, which will enable the issuance of a debt card to such customers during emergency periods, even in cases where they have a credit facility in their account, which was prohibited to them prior to the amendment to the law.​