Rabbi Gafni Slams BOI Governor: His Term Is Marked by Harming Weaker Sectors and Constant Increases in Interest Rates

By Aryeh Stern

Head of the Knesset’s Finance Committee MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a meeting of the Finance Committee on Monday, Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism)​ said: “Yesterday an answer arrived from Senior Deputy Accountant General Gil Cohen about the state guarantee for loans following the warfare. From what I can see in the letter, it does not address the issue of the high interest rate and the NGOs, as we requested. I intend to ask him to give the committee more comprehensive answers; this is not the answer we requested.

“MK [Orit] Farkash Hacohen (National Unity) raised the issue of the banks’ interest rate last week. I said that I would summon the governor of the Bank of Israel [Amir Yaron] to come here, since this is an issue that we have been discussing for a very long time and it hasn’t changed for the better. The reality is that a person receives very little money for the money he has in the bank, and he has to pay a fortune for the mortgages and credit. His secretary told my secretary that on Monday he would speak to me on the phone, and that was on Wednesday.

“I understand that the government intends to appoint him for another term of office; his term is marked by harming of weaker [sectors] and constant increases in the interest rate. The burden on the public is terrible; he is not a good governor, he is a bad governor, and the Government is making a bad decision. The banks are making a fortune, and I don’t begrudge them [the money], but what is this money, where is the money that the banks earn coming from? From young couples, they are making a fortune at the expense of young couples who take out mortgages. I will do what is necessary on this matter,” said Rabbi Gafni.

MK Farkash Hacohen said: “The state is allocating NIS 10 billion for loans to businesses, they come along and instead of receiving a low interest rate, due to the fact that the money is protected by a state interest rate, the banks earn a 1.5% profit on the interest. I don’t believe the governor’s assurance. If we are able to do it and the finance minister allows us, legislation can be passed stipulating that this fund will be operated by the banks without earning money. It’s in our hands, and we can restart this law.”

Following these statements, the committee members agreed that they would demand from the Bank of Israel that in the state-guaranteed loan tracks, the banks would not collect additional interest. They agreed that if the issue were not enshrined by the Bank of Israel, legislation on the matter would be advanced.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!