Bank Leumi CEO Plans More Cost Cuts After Eliminating 2,100 Jobs

Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s second-biggest lender, will continue to cut jobs and take steps to boost efficiency amid plans to reinstate its dividend.

“Banks are going to be smaller," Chief Executive Officer Rakafet Russak-Aminoach said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “We’re going to have very permanent streamlining processes. Unlike a decade ago, the model of banking is changing every day. If we don’t transform ourselves, we’ll be dead."

Russak-Aminoach has overseen Leumi’s push to cut costs as revenue for Israeli banks stagnated because of record-low interest rates. The lender has been closing branches alongside staff cuts, with a deepening focus on digital banking. It plans to approach the regulator this quarter for approval to restart dividend payments, she said.

The bank has eliminated about 2,100 jobs -- or about 15 percent of its workforce -- in the last four years. Leumi said in June it would consider further reductions in staff, with the CEO saying today that the actual number is a “moving target."

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