The Banking Supervision Department has set the promotion of technology and innovation in the banking system as one of its main goals. This is because technological innovation enables customers to receive more accessible, convenient, and personal banking services, at lower costs. As can be expected, the switch from banking primarily through branches to banking in which a large part is conducted via digital means presents various challenges, for customers as well as for banks. The Banking Supervision Department acts, and instructs banks, to assist customers with this big change, and also works to remove regulatory barriers, to facilitate the switch. To monitor the trends in this area, to measure the change, and to examine the impact of the steps taken by the Banking Supervision Department to remove barriers, approximately a year ago the Banking Supervision Department began receiving reports from the banks on the breakdown of the public’s usage of banking services, between receiving them through direct channels[1] and receiving them at branches. An analysis of updated household data available to the Banking Supervision Department portrays the following:


  • An increase can observed in the share of customer-executed banking transactions: In the first half of 2017, the percentage of customer-executed banking transactions, carried out via direct channels, increased to 51 percent, compared to 46 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year. That is, about half of all banking transactions are not conducted at the branch. 
  • The increase in customers’ share of using direct channels is observed at all of the five large banks and in a wide range of bank activities. The share of use of direct channels is greater at Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim than at the other banks in the banking system. 
  • Trends of use of direct channels by age: Customers aged 50 and above prefer to use the website for receiving information and conducting transactions, as do customers aged 30–49, though at a lower rate, while customers younger than 29 prefer the application available on mobile devices.
  • Very few bank accounts have been opened online: In the first half of 2017, only about 370 accounts in the banking system were opened online.[2] The further removal of barriers, as announced recently by the Banking Supervision Department, is expected to increase the opening of account online.
  • Pursuant to the Banking Supervision Department’s requirement, beginning in November 2017, all banking services provided via direct channels are less expensive than those provided in a branch, by significant differences of up to several tens of percentage points. (To press realese The benefits of increased efficiency in banking reach customers: Reduced fees for all customer-executed banking services)
  • The above noted increase in customer-executed transactions comes against the background of very large investments made by banks in technological innovation, applications, and through collaborations with fintech companies that create new tools for customers, allowing the switch to consuming banking services remotely.

[1] Direct channels: Websites, mobile applications, automated self-service stands, and telephone call centers (not including phone responses by a clerk at a branch.)

[2] Not including data on PEPPER, which was launched for the public in the beginning of the second half of 2017.