Protecting bank customers is a core objective of the Banking Supervision Department and we employ a variety of means and tools to achieve it. One of the primary tools in this domain is the handling of public enquiries for banking supervision purposes. The enquiries are handled at the individual customer level, while examining system-wide issues arising from the number of enquiries and addressing these issues in a system-wide manner. The Banking Supervision Department also monitors the activities of ombudsmen at the banks and credit card companies, who handle most public enquiries in accordance with the rules and principles set by the Banking Supervision Department. This control mechanism ensures that we provide adequate service to all banking system customers.

The information received from the public enables the Banking Supervision Department to identify and handle system-wide issues, thus increasing customer satisfaction with the entire banking system. We therefore deem the information from the public highly significant.

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of complaints and enquiries submitted to the Banking Supervision Department by the public. This tendency is also evident in the enquiries and complaints submitted to the banking system as a whole. This demonstrates the public’s growing awareness of its rights in banking and its desire to fully utilize these rights. Making information in this field more accessible and various publications of the Public Enquiries Unit have impacted this tendency.

The main issues that the public is concerned with, as evidenced by the complaints handled by the Banking Supervision Department, are quality of service, means of payment and current accounts—issues that reflect the customers' main interfaces with the banks and credit card companies.

During the past year, we have been working to enhance consumer enforcement activities, increasing the number of monetary sanctions imposed on banks and credit card companies. Thus, during 2018 and the first half of 2019, 6 consumer financial sanctions totaling NIS 4.7 million were imposed, in addition to additional enforcement actions carried out by the Banking Supervision Department as a result of handling individual and system-wide cases, which led to monetary refunds totaling NIS 8.6 million.

This review includes a rating of the quality of handling public enquiries by the ombudsmen of the banks and credit card companies. According to this rating, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot and Bank Leumi have led this year in terms of the quality of handling public enquiries.​