Supervisor of Banks announces that she will step down from her position

 

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber announces that she will step down from her position at the end of her five-year term

 

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber has requested from the Governor of the Bank of Israel to step down from her position on April 15, 2020, following a term of office of close to five years.

 

Dr. Hedva Ber took on the position in 2015, and set out a series of goals for the Banking Supervision Department's work. These included continuing to maintain the stability of the banking system; proactive promotion of competition in banking areas, including through structural changes and the removal of barriers; maintaining the banking system's fairness toward its customers; promoting efficiency in the banking system; and encouraging innovation and the adoption of new technologies by the banking system.

 

The main measures taken by the Banking Supervision Department during Dr. Ber's term implemented these goals in practice. As part of the implementation of the Strum Committee Report, and beyond that, the Department led the separation of two credit card companies from the large banks; lowered regulatory requirements for new entities, and as a result of that issued a license for a new bank and two new merchant acquirers; strengthened the midsized banks in competition; and more. In addition, the Department is advancing infrastructure projects such as a system to make it easier to move from one bank to another, and "open banking". The Department incentivized the banking system to increase efficiency, which was reflected in a significant drop in the number of employees, and an improvement in the banks' efficiency ratios.

 

At the same time, the Banking Supervision Department adjusted regulations in order to incentivize the banks to make digital transformations and to adjust their business models to the fourth technological revolution. The changes led by the Department enabled the banks to leverage technology in order to improve service to the customer, and the public greatly increased the volume of banking transactions it executes through digital means, while the Department ensures that the fruits of the increased efficiency are passed on to the customers in the form of lower fees for those transactions.

 

The Department acted to improve fairness in relations between the banks and their customers, including through directives that set guidelines for banks on extending credit and collecting debts, and by engaging the banking system to help elderly customers in the transition to the digital world and to help battered women suffering from financial violence.

 

In parallel with these actions, the Department has continued to work to strengthen the stability of the banking system, while preparing to manage new risks, by strengthening readiness for cyber risks, strengthening corporate governance and the Boards of Directors, and other actions.

 

Dr. Hedva Ber said, "I thank the Governor, Prof. Amir Yaron, and former governor Prof. Karnit Flug, for the huge honor they gave me to lead the supervision of the banking system in recent years, and for the full partnership and backing they gave me throughout that time in leading the steps that we have led. I would also like to thank the staff and managers of the Banking Supervision Department and of the Bank of Israel, and my colleagues in the Bank's management for the tireless and professional work they are doing with a sense of mission. I complete my term with a sense of satisfaction in view of the fact that we have advanced many infrastructural changes, the benefits of which can already be felt by households and businesses, and some of which will come to fruition and be felt gradually over the coming years. At the same time, we have strengthened the ability of Banking Supervision Department and of the banks themselves to manage the new developing risks, chiefly cyber and technology risks. In recent years, the banking system has undergone large changes that benefit customers, while maintaining stability and supporting economic growth."

 

Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Amir Yaron said, "On behalf of the Bank of Israel and of myself, I thank Dr. Hedva Ber for her service as Supervisor of Banks. Hedva worked during a key period for the banking system, while maintaining its stability and promoting competition and innovation in it. Hedva knew how to skillfully and professionally balance the needs of all participants in the system, and to serve the public interest in the best way possible. I wish her success, and I am convinced that she will continue to serve the Israeli economy in the future."​