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Tech Moguls Get Approval for Israel's First New Bank in Decades

Ivan Levingston

(Bloomberg) -- Israel’s banking sector is about to get a new entrant for the first time since the 1970s.

The Bank of Israel said Tuesday it will approve a new digital bank led by entrepreneurs Marius Nacht of cyber security company Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. and Amnon Shashua of autonomous driving developer Mobileye NV.

“This is an important day after many years, decades,” the central bank’s Supervisor of Banks Hedva Ber said in a phone briefing. These entrepeneurs will “lead a change in the market.”

The new bank will provide credit and brokerage services to retail customers, and have no branch offices, according to its business plan. Ber said it will be operational in about a year and a half.

This milestone is the result of efforts by the Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Finance to increase competition in the banking sector, including lowering capital requirements and easing the approval process for new banks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ivan Levingston in New York at ilevingston@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Amy Teibel, Paul Abelsky

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