The Bank’s strengths and leadership are reflected in its financial statements. In March 2020, the Bank published its 2019 results, and reported net income of NIS 1,799 million, compared with NIS 2,595 million in 2018, with a 4.6% net return on equity. excludes expenses in respect of the provision in connection with the United States authorities, the effect of the closure of the private-banking activity overseas, net profit from the sale of Isracard, and loss from impairment in respect of the Bank’s investment in Bank Pozitif, 2019 net income was NIS 2,778 million, compared with NIS 3,579 million in 2018, while the net return on equity attributed to Bank shareholders after said eliminations in 2019 was 7.1%.
Shareholders’ equity of the Bank totaled NIS 38.2 billion at the end of 2019, compared with NIS 37.5 billion at the end of 2018.
Bank Hapoalim and the Leading International Rating Agencies:
Moody’s at (A2); Standard & Poor’s at (A), and (A) by Fitch Ratings. In Israel, the Bank is rated by Standard & Poor’s Ma’alot at (AAA), and by Midroog (a subsidiary of Moody’s) at (Aaa).
The Bank Group is active in Israel in various areas of banking and interfaces with the capital markets, through three central divisions – the Corporate Division, the Retail Division and the International Financial Markets and Banking Division.
The Corporate Division serves most of the Bank’s business customers. In the large corporate segment, the Division operates through sectors with broad industry expertise. In the mid-market segment, the Division operates through business centers, located throughout the country, and through the Bank’s branches that provide operational services to its customers.
The Retail Division serves households, private banking, non-residents, and small businesses through a network of 208 branches, Poalim INVEST – an investment advice center, and a mobile branch that provides service to 32 service points (about half of which are at senior citizen residences), alongside many direct channels, such as self-service devices at certain branches, “Poalim on the Internet,” “Poalim by Cell Phone,” and the “Poalim by Telephone” call center, interactive voice response systems for information and transactions and through social media apps. In addition during the year, the Bank introduced a system to book meetings with its bankers, allowing the customer to book a meeting with a banker in an efficient, qualitative and professional manner.
As part of the Bank’s concept of service and social responsibility, it considers accessibility by people with disabilities as a significant and business-required issue. Under this service concept, all Bank services are extended to people with disabilities and accessibility is taken into consideration when developing new products and processes.
The International Financial Markets and Banking Division coordinates the Bank Group’s operations in most areas of the capital markets, in Israel and abroad, including brokerage services, securities custodianship, currency and derivatives trading services, research and advice, services to financial asset managers, portfolio management, investment banking, underwriting and security issuance management.
Besides banking, the Bank Group is involved in interfacing operations, mainly in the capital markets, which is reflected, inter alia, in providing brokerage services for trading in securities, securities custodianship, trading in currencies and derivatives, research and advice, services for financial asset managers, investment portfolio management, investment banking, underwriting, and security issuance management.
Besides its operations in Israel, the Bank Group operates abroad in the business sector, in Israel, Europe, and the United States. The Bank Group also operates in the commercial sector in Turkey. The business sector’s foreign operations include approving credits to local and international borrowers, inter alia, by providing credit for business operations of the Bank’s customers.
Commitment to Personal, Human and Technological Services
The Bank serves the most significant number of customers in the Israeli banking system, with over 2 million customers. The broad range of Bank customers requires change and a diversification of the range of products and services offered by the Bank to the public. Thus is a growth engine for the Bank’s commitment to personal, human, and technological service.
Leading Banking Innovation
The Bank considers technological development as an opportunity to launch advanced financial products and services for its customers, and thus encourages innovation in the Israeli economy in general and in the banking system in particular. The Bank’s innovation efforts are led by a dedicated division – the Innovation and Strategy Division, which aims to initiate, create and leverage innovative solutions and new, digital and technological growth engines, which will be a leap forward in offering digital value to the customer. The Division developed “Bit” – a groundbreaking payment app which has already recorded some 3.8 million downloads. “Bit” which was developed to provide a technology solution for transfers between people in a relaxed, convenient and secure way, has evolved and now leads the payments revolution in a variety of sectors, including insurance and pensions, retail and transportation. In addition, the division initiated and led the development of the “OPEN POALIM” app, which allows, for the first time in Israel, opening a bank account from anywhere and anytime in about 7 minutes, regardless of the availability of any live banker, call center or opening hours of the branch. The account opening process is based on innovative technologies for facial recognition, photo, and the decryption of identification cards. The customer benefits from immediate and complete access to all Bank channels.
To improve the value proposition for customers, the Bank adopted the principles of the “Agile” method as a methodology for developing services and products. As part of a cross-divisional plan, the innovation and strategy division developed the first “retail credit” segment, which includes employees specializing in a variety of disciplines, including credit, data and A.I. experts, analysts, developers, Q.A. professionals and more. This process expresses a mix between program innovation – developing new credit products, using Big Data for credit underwriting decisions and an emphasis on creating an advanced customer experience, and process innovation – a way of working that can significantly shorten insight generation processes and development times.
The Bank’s Business Strategy Includes Several Key Points:
Implementation of the strategic plan’s foundations – in the Bank’s view, the customer relationship is divided into two active arenas – Expert Banking and Daily Banking. The Daily Banking activity mainly includes simple banking operations that most customers prefer to do on their own, through the direct channels of activity (mobile apps, website, self-service machines, etc.), under the assumption that the number of customers will increase in the future. On the other hand, Expert Banking involves banking operations at a higher level of complexity, and the more complex the perceived activity, the higher the rate of those interested in human and professional involvement.
In the Daily Banking business arena, the Bank is making significant efforts to make digital and direct channels the customer’s first choice for services and products that are not complex.
As part of upgrading the Expert Banking capabilities, a three-year plan has been approved to change the operating structure and improve service in the retail division. The plan will optimize the retail network, which will focus, more than before, on providing involved banking services.
Increase in credit and payment capabilities – The Bank will continue to improve the retail credit portfolio by upgrading its underwriting and collection capabilities through the development of automated underwriting models and improving customer involvement. In the business and commercial customer arena, the Bank will continue to work to maintain its leading position with the aim of being the first choice of business customers.
Technological Transformation – As part of strengthening its technological infrastructure, the Bank is leading a process of adapting its core systems to cope with the pace of change in the business environment. The rapid pace of change in business models and digital products requires the Bank to reinvigorate its existing core systems. The modernization of existing core systems will enable a more flexible and simplified banking infrastructure that will improve the pace of application of new business processes and new product development, an open banking infrastructure (Open Application Programming Interface Specification) and a reduction of information technology costs.
Organizational Transformation – The Bank has decided on an organizational transformation process that will include aspects of culture, processes, efficiency and employee development. The Bank will strive to streamline and improve its work processes, with an emphasis on simplifying processes and their mechanization, and in doing so, improve the level of service to customers, while at the same time strengthening operational excellence.
Alongside its business leadership and economic and technological initiatives, the Bank is also committed to active and leading involvement in society and the community. In its activities for the community, the Bank focuses on projects in the areas of accessibility and empowerment of people with disabilities, digital literacy for senior citizens, social mobility in the education periphery, with a particular emphasis on education for prudent economic conduct, as a key to promoting financial freedom. Bank Hapoalim is the most significant contributor among Israel’s public companies. The Bank’s total social investment in the community in 2019 was NIS 43.9 million.
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