UK and Israeli banks

Over two years on from the onset of the credit crunch and the UK banking system is still looking over its shoulder at what was. The head of Barclays, Bob Diamond, has called for “sounder and safer” bonus schemes.

“Sounder and safer” is newspeak for “how can the top guys get the money they want – maybe even deserve – without the public and press screaming stop thief?”

Here’s a cute suggesting – how about banks giving the public some value for money? Yes, this probably is a revolutionary concept for top financial managers, whose offices are so away from the ground floor that they have forgotten what reality is.

Contrast this to the Bank of Israel’s HQ in Jerusalem, not very high at all. The governor, Stanley Fischer, took the post after a brilliant career amongst the grand in international banking.

Yesterday, the Bank of Israel announced the results of a three year campaign to encourage Israel’s banks to provide more efficient services and become more competitive. The results?

  • Standard banking fees are down 13%
  • Fees on credit cards are 20% off their peak
  • It is clear who provides the cheapest (or not) services and for what kind of customer.
  • Websites are becoming more using friendly

There is probably a long way to go yet. However, after many years of public disappointment with fat banking profits, Israelis are beginning to feel the improvements.

Meanwhile, back in the UK…………

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