Israeli banks will no longer charge a commission for converting foreign pension funds to shekels, according to a press release issued Sunday by the office of UTJ MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, head of the Public Petitions Committee.
A number of banks already did not require commissions from fees for converting to shekels pension funds from Holocaust survivors or people from the former Soviet Union. Following a hearing last month with representatives of all these banks, Rabbi Eichler “demanded that the banks add foreign citizens to the arrangement to exempt them from fees and commissions that are charged for converting their pension funds to shekels,” according to the statement.
This week, First International Bank announced that it, too, will now waive this fee. In a letter to Rabbi Eichler, the bank said, “After examining the Issue and taking into consideration your request and as a gesture of goodwill, the First International Bank has agreed to grant an exemption from conversion fees to private customers, who receive their pensions from foreign countries. This exemption is in addition to the exemption given by the First International Bank for recipients of compensation from Germany.”
In the statement, Rabbi Eichler “praised the responsiveness of the banks who were benevolent to the elderly who receive pension funds, at times very meager, and are forced to convert it from foreign currency to shekels, where the commission eats away from the bread from which they live.”