Banks Chided for Poor Customer Service

Israeli Banks Discount, Bank HaPoalim and Bank Leumi lined up in the center of Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90)

Israel’s banks have to improve their customer services, the government regulator told industry heads on Sunday.

Supervisor of Banks Yair Avidan cited long waits at telephone call centers as well as the lack of availability for recycling mortgages at lower interest rates.

“As part of the technological developments and due to the Covid crisis, banking corporations have made extensive use of systems for fixing meetings. This technological use creates difficulties for customers, whether it’s technical difficulties in setting the appointment or the insufficient availability of bankers, so that services are not always provided within a reasonable amount of time,” Globes quoted Avidan as saying in a statement.

“In addition, due to the extensive activities in the residential real estate sector, there has been a rise in demand for banking services for housing loans, Following this rise, the Supervisor of Banks has received complaints about the long waits at call centers and lack of availability of services from a banker specializing in mortgages, for recycling housing loans.”

Avidan wrote, “Due to this, we find it right to stress that banking corporations must make an effort to provide appropriate solutions for customers to receive services in a range of channels – telephone call centers, digital/online means, and the branches themselves, and generally to identify professional and operational bottlenecks and streamline procedures with customers, in order to provide responses to their needs.

“As part of this, customers should be allowed to choose not to use the system for setting appointments and receive a response at the branch, and in addition various ways should be examined to expand the available hours for face-to-face meetings and services in which a meeting is required with a banker in the branch,” he said.

No penalty was threatened for banks’ non-compliance, however, according to the report.