Banking Mobility Reform – Banking Supervision Department Update A Year After the Launch of the Reform
In September 2021, an amendment to the Banking (Service to the Customer) Law, 5741–1981, led by the Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Finance, took effect. The amendment obligates the banking system to enable bank customers to move easily, rapidly, and securely from bank to bank at no cost (the bank mobility reform). The objectives of the reform are to increase competition among the banks; to enable new participants to offer financial services; to make it easier to transition between banks; and to enable customers to improve their terms, either at their existing bank or at a new bank, by strengthening the customer’s bargaining power.
The advancement of the reform required the absolute support of the banks and credit card companies in finding an appropriate technological solution (online system), through MASAV, which led to the fact that today, bank customers can transition most of their financial activity—including positive and negative account balances, standing bank orders, authorized debit orders, credit card charges, securities, checks, and more—from one bank to another in a synchronized, friendly, and rapid manner. The reform also provides an innovative “follow-me” solution for the transfer of activity from one back to another, which significantly improves the transition experience, since it enables any charge or credit in the old account to be automatically directed to the new one. This saves the customer the bother of dealing with charges and credits that were bounce due to a “closed account” and the need to approach counterparties to update their bank account details.
The Banking Supervision Department is now publishing additional information, including data obtained from the use of the online system; control activities undertaken by the Banking Supervision Department; and a customer satisfaction survey conducted a year after the launch of the reform.
The data obtained from the use of the online system:
- The total number of requests submitted in the online system, and thee total number of requests actually fulfilled – From the launch of the online system until November 30, 2022, a total of about 96,000 requests to transition from one bank to another were submitted. In practice, about 67,000 customers switched banks using the online system. In addition to these moves, there are those who switch banks without using the online system, by closing their accounts. In the first half of 2022, about 125,000 customers closed bank accounts.
- Cancellation of mobility by the customer – Of the roughly 28,000 mobility requests submitted but not completed, 35 percent were cancelled at the customer’s request. These cancellations were mainly due to the banks’ customer retention activities and offers to improve account management terms, which led customers to cancel the mobility requests at their own initiative.
- The main reasons for cancelling mobility by the banks – Regarding the 65 percent of mobility requests that were cancelled by the banks, about 47 percent of them were rejected for various technical reasons (such as lack of identification of the owners, nonexistent account number or inactive account, and so forth), about 38 percent were rejected because the customer did not pay off his debts at the bank he wanted to leave, and about 11 percent were cases where there was a legal impediment or complexity blocking the mobility using the online system.
- “Follow me” service (directed through the online system) – As part of the “Follow me” system, which enables the automatic direction of charges and credits (transactions) following the transfer of activity from the old bank to the new, about 1 million transactions were made, including the automatic transfer of about 425,000 credits (salaries, money transfers, and so forth), about 540,000 charges (bank credit cards, standing bank orders, etc.), and about 37,000 checks. It should be noted that the automatic redirection of transactions, which is generally successful and without breakdowns, provides a solution to what had been a significant barrier to switching banks before the launch of the online system, in that customers had been required to contact counterparties in order to provide them with their new bank details.
The Banking Supervision Department closely monitors the online system’s performance, and examines the banks’ behavior and implementation of the reform, with the aim of strengthening public trust in the online system and increasing use of it.
In the first year after the system went online, the banks were contacted regarding two areas in which they were asked to improve and to examine their actual policy and performance, alongside additional control activities carried out by the Banking Supervision Department on these issues.
The main findings of the first control:
- Bank mobility requests that required the repayment of a loan at the original bank – The banks’ reports to the Banking Supervision Department regarding reasons for rejecting online transitions showed that in some of the rejected requests, the main reason for refusal concerned the existence of credit at the original bank. In view of this, the banks were asked to examine their behavior when handling transition requests where there is a loan at the original bank (with an emphasis on mobility of interest-bearing transactions on a bank credit card), and implementation of various possibilities with the aim of enabling the transition to take place despite the existence of the credit.
- Transferring activity without using the online system – The banks were asked to examine their behavior with regard to updating customers about the possibility of transitioning online, with an emphasis on transitions carried out at the bank branch (for instance, around the time of opening a new account at the branch). This was in view of the fact that this service should be provided to each customer, due to its many advantages, through any interface that the customer has with the bank, including nondigital interfaces.
With the aim of increasing the rate of transitions using the online system and in order to improve the customer’s experience in the online transition, the Banking Supervision Department contacted the banks and instructed them to examine additional aspects that may expand and improve the use of the online system with an eye towar improving the public’s satisfaction with the reform, as detailed below:
- Inputting mistaken details in the online mobility request – The banks were asked to examine how to improve the online system such that it would identify the typing in of mistaken details even before the mobility request submission is completed. This is in contrast to the current situation in which the details are examined for errors 1–2 business days after the submission. This improvement should significantly reduce the rate of rejections since the process of identifying and correcting errors will be immediate, and will not necessitate waiting for an answer, receiving the rejection, and submitting a new mobility request.
- Making use of the online system accessible by mobile phone – The banks were asked to examine making the possibility of online transitions possible through the banks’ cellular applications. It should be noted that there are already a number of banks that enable this.
In addition, the Banking Supervision Department maintains contact with the public in a variety of ways in order to provide updates on the use of the system. As such, the Banking Supervision Department has conducted a customer satisfaction survey, among other things.
Main findings of the customer satisfaction survey
- Satisfaction with the handling of the account transfer by the bank to which the account was transferred is higher among those transitioning online;
- Most of the online system’s users did not experience difficulties when making the transition;
- The average recommendation score for switching between banks is higher among those who did so using the online system than among those who did not;
- About half of the public is still not aware of the existence of the online system;
- Most respondents agreed that transitioning using the online system was faster;
- Most customers who switched banks did so at their own initiative. The main reasons were to improve commercial terms and to improve service.
With the aim of continuing to increase the public’s awareness of the ability to switch banks using the online service, the Banking Supervision Department launched an additional public awareness campaign in November to detail the process of switching banks using the online service and to present the advantages of doing so. The campaign also presented how the option of convenient and friendly online switching helps strengthen customers’ bargaining power in their interactions with the bank.
For more information on switching from one bank to another, and for answers to commonly asked questions, visit https://www.switchbank.org.il
 In view of confidentiality obligations, the data in this notice are being published on a system-wide basis. In order to enable the publication of the data on a bank-by-bank basis, a further legislative amendment is necessary, and the Banking Supervision Department intends to act in this regard.
 It should be noted that there are many reasons for closing an account, including but not only in order to switch banks. The number appears as an indication of activity that includes switching between banks without using the online mobility system.
 The data are up-to-date as of September 30, 2022.