Discount Bank Policy Impacts ‘Foreign Residents’: AIC Advocates for Exemption of Partners of Israelis

In the last few months, AIC has gotten inquires about a series of notification letters sent by Discount Bank to some of its clients, notifying them about a new bank policy. As stated in their letters, the bank decided to terminate the provision of credit-related services and securities services to some of its clients who are listed as non-Israeli residents in the bank’s system. This policy is an independent decision of the bank as a part of its risk management, in the context of rising regulatory oversight on international banking activity, and was not dictated by the Bank of Israel.

AIC has been closely monitoring this policy and its effects, and decided to reach out to Discount Bank to ensure the rights of international couples who own accounts there. We have provided the international banking and the legal departments of the bank with comprehensive information about the unique circumstances of international couples, including the process of acquiring various types of visas. We have clarified that international couples are obligated to keep their center of life and are effectively Israeli residents, even before holding an Israeli ID and a “resident” immigration status.

We’re glad to announce that in response to concerns raised by AIC, Discount Bank has been very attentive to our inquires and has clarified that the policy should not apply to individuals whose permanent place of residence is in Israel, even if they do not possess an Israeli ID.

However, under common bank practices in Israel, those without an Israeli ID are almost automatically classified as foreign residents, even if they hold a partner visa and their center of life in Israel (these things are simply not checked when opening a bank account with a foreign ID).

Below, you will find a confirmed procedure that we created in collaboration with Discount headquarters, for partners of Israelis whose center of life is in Israel to be considered as local residents by the bank, even without an Israeli ID – hence not being affected by the credit policy.

It’s important to note that the policy does not affect all foreign citizens. The list of affected countries has not been made public and can change according to the bank’s decision and assessments. You are only affected by the policy if you have received notices about it from the bank. However, we do encourage partners of Israelis who are clients of the Discount Bank to go ahead and update the bank of their actual residency, so they are categorized correctly, even if the policy does not currently affect them.

How Can I Change My Status in the Bank?

To correct your status in the bank’s systems, partners of Israelis should visit their attending Discount branch and request an update of their living address to reflect their residence in Israel.

  1. Go to the branch that manages your account
  2. Bring your passport with a valid partner visa sticker (that is imprinted with “בן/בת זוג”)
  3. Bring additional proofs of your residency (municipal bills on your name, rent contract, Israeli pay slips, and any other relevant proof you have)
  4. Ask the bank clerk to “update residency address to Israel” – “עדכון כתובת מגורים בישראל”

IMPORTANT! These are general instructions that are not case-specific! The Discount Bank holds sole discretion on the residency determination of its clients and its policies. Full information and instructions for your personal case will be given by the bank.

Having issues?

As you already know, AIC is making first-of-its-kind changes, in places that never heard about our community before, and new policies and instructions in big organizations take time to fully implement.

In the event that bank clerks are unfamiliar with the procedure or face difficulties in updating the status, please reach out to AIC via email at Providing your bank account details in your inquiry will facilitate further investigation and resolution of any issues.

Final Thoughts

AIC’s proactive engagement with Discount Bank has resulted in a positive change for partners of Israelis in Israel. By advocating for fair treatment and recognition of the circumstances faced by international couples, AIC has facilitated the creation of a new process that ensures the rights of individuals without an Israeli ID are protected. This development highlights the importance of AIC as the only organization that safeguards the interest of international couples in Israel.

If you support this activity and want to see more of it > Please donate to AIC TODAY! We can’t do this without you.

We would like to thank Discount Bank for their professionalism, attentiveness and understanding in this process! It is not taken for granted that such a big institution like Discount Bank goes the extra mile to ensure the rights of international couples aren’t unjustly harmed.

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The Israeli Association for International Couples (R.A.)
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